“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” (Ephesians 4:29; NKJV)
Each Sunday, our church makes declarations over the seven mountains of cultural influence.
Over the media particularly, we declare that this industry will be the result of truth and integrity in the lives of those who produce it. Through these words, the Holy Spirit has convicted us with the truth that we, too, are a form of media. God’s people are His voice crying in the desert, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.” Therefore, we must guard our words, and we must live and speak with integrity.
There are many Scriptures that have significant implications for the concept of the body of Christ’s role as media to the world:
We are instructed on what things we should definitely speak up about: “Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:9).
We are reminded to be guarded in how we speak: “He who guards his mouth preserves his life, But he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction” (Prov. 13:3). We must do all things—even speaking up for truth—in love, with gentleness and forbearance.
Perhaps most significantly for us these days, Paul even extends caution about engaging in the divisive language we’re so used to in the media:
But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:23-26)
Our purpose as God's media representatives is to display the loving nature of our God so that those in opposition may be drawn to Him, especially through the words of life we speak.
Consider Proverbs 18:21: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Our words, both positive and negative, both truth and fabrication, bear eternal consequences. They also expose our inner nature; they flow from our hearts and reveal what is actually there. (See Luke 6:45; Eph. 4:29)
Too often, our conversation sounds more like the gossip columns that appear on the back pages of the newspaper or those celebrity gossip shows. This even spills into our prayer groups sometimes. We do not have to know all the “down and dirty” details in order to pray. Some prayer requests should not go public. Just because we heard it in the beauty salon does not mean that it should go on the church prayer chain or be discussed in the coffee shop. We must respect the privacy of those in need. The private, fervent prayer of the righteous still avails much.
The gospel is good news—and our world is hungry for good news, for the knowledge that God thinks good thoughts toward us, that His desire is to give us a future and a hope. We are to broadcast that good news not only by our words, but also by our lifestyle, by our joyful countenance, and by our work ethic.
We are the newspaper that our friends and neighbors read daily. We are the social network that joins together a disjointed community. We are the news commentators who bring hope in the midst of despair.
As with all renewal, revitalization of the media must begin in the House of God. When individual members of the Body of Christ step out of the pews and become the media of God in our daily lives—when we speak truth and life—we will see that change reflected in the worldly media as well.