The Bible states, “Do not take to heart all the things that people say [about you]” (Ecclesiastes 7:21). And these days, with everybody saying all kinds of things about everyone else on social media, this timeless principle may be more important than ever before. The biblical context of this verse clearly has in view the typical opinionated chitchat and conversational commentary that has gone on between friends and coworkers since the beginning of time.
Unfortunately, with the advent of social media this assertive dialogue between “friends” is digitally captured and perpetually broadcast for everyone to read and reread. It lends itself to being taken to heart. But the Scripture says don’t! God forbids us to dwell on these off-the-cuff words either explicitly or implicitly said about us, because as the next verse reminds us, we too have often insensitively or extemporaneously spouted off about others. And in most cases, our irritable words were reactionary – springing from our own annoyance and frustration, and not our thoughtful and reasoned reflection.
A prayerful rebuke, an edited book, or a well-prepared sermon is one thing, but the unrehearsed and impulsive opinions tossed around on the patio or on the internet should be lightly esteemed, and quickly forgotten.