Do we comprehend the power behind the language we use on social media?
Language is powerful—especially our language on social media. A single word has the power to influence people and their feelings, for good or bad. Elder Charles A. Didier reminds us in his talk “Language: A Divine Way of Communicating” that we often do not realize the implications of our language choices, but that the consequences of destructive language are devastating.
Social media allows us to share the gospel, connect with friends and family, and record our lives, but it can also be a breeding ground for contention. Elder Didier warns that our “words can be distilled drop by drop like a poison, or eat away like a cancer.” When we join a politically sparked conversation online, we should remember to keep our language motivated toward charity, sharing messages of hope and peace instead of statements of despair and hostility. As carriers of the Holy Spirit, we have the ability to speak, like Paul, “with the tongues . . . of angels” (1 Corinthians 13:1).
In the virtual world, it can be tempting to speak harmful words to others when our face is hidden behind a username; however, we must strive to keep Christ at the center of our language, even when we are online. After all, our words say a great deal about our character. As Elder Didier points out, “Words are a form of personal expression. . . . They reflect what kind of person we are.”
The next time a controversial topic enticingly invites online dialogue, let’s remember to allow the light of Christ within us to shine through our language.
Read Elder Charles A. Didier’s full talk, “Language: A Divine Way of Communicating.”
—Olivia Snow, Mormon Insights
feature image by william iven
Find more insights
See what Church leaders have said about language in For the Strength of Youth’s section on Language.
For more insights on language and communication, read Jennifer Grace Jones’s Ensign article “No Corrupt Communication.”