I recently heard a celebrity share on a podcast that they have someone who sifts through their social media comments for them. They filter out all the negative comments and highlight the comments worth their attention. The interviewer sarcastically responded with: “Wait! You mean there are mean people on the internet?!”
Ok, so I have never wanted to be a celebrity, but can I just say I would totally want that! Who wouldn’t? It would be even more amazing if someone could do that for all the verbal comments in our lives too.
We have all been on the receiving end of negative and hurtful comments, whether on social media or in person. We have felt the sting of these words, replayed them in our mind and wondered why or what did we do to invite them? And let’s be totally honest, we have been on the distribution end too whether intentionally or inadvertently (although hopefully never on the internet).
I have been studying the book of 2 Corinthians and I am amazed how much Paul dealt with negative criticism and feedback in his ministry. Yes, the forms of criticism have evolved over time, but at its core it is the same. There is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). I am greatly encouraged by this and his insight.
I am also reminded of Ephesians 4:29:
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Ephesians 4:29 – NIV
This verse reminds me that our words are powerful. Our words have the power to build others up and benefit them. Conversely, our words have the power to tear others down and discourage them too.
We all have a choice of who we allow to speak into our lives, who we give the microphone to. We also get to decide who doesn’t have permission to speak into our lives. We need to ask ourselves, are they speaking positive, encouraging and life-giving words or are they speaking negative, discouraging and life-sucking words?
We may not have someone we pay to filter comments in our lives, but we can do it for ourselves. We get to choose whose voices we amplify, minimize or all together mute. Sometimes we are the culprits who need to be muted from our own negative self-talk. Other times, it is those around us who need to be muted or minimized. Hopefully we have people in our lives who speak positive life-giving words – amplify those voices. Focus on their comments. And most importantly, we should amplify scripture and God’s voice above all else. When we amplify the right voices, we live in freedom and confidence.