Campus wide

Words mean something

By Clark Carter | June 4, 2020

Words. They mean something. They reveal a glimpse about who we are, where we come from, what is in our heart. Jesus said it this way, “…the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.” Matthew 15:19-19 (NASB)

Clark Carter gives speech upon receipt of the Humanitarian Award
Clark Carter, vice president of student life, received the 2019 Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award at the Black History Intercollegiate Consortium’s MLK Celebration. Photo provided

We should be slow to speak and be slow to anger. Proverbs 21:23 gives us good advice when it says, “He who guards his mouth and his tongue, guards his soul from troubles.”  

During these days of heated rhetoric and hostile polarization, we should guard our hearts and measure our words. This is hard to do when everyone has an opinion and can share their thoughts with the entire world in just a matter of seconds via social media.  

I heard a wise man once say, “Most of our thoughts on social media are like old Polaroid pictures from the past – they are overexposed and underdeveloped!” My friends, once our words or images are posted on the internet, we can never take them back. Never. 

Let me encourage us to do the following. BEFORE we place anything on social media, we should T.H.I.N.K.  

Truthful – Is what we are about to post true? Have we checked the source? Just in case you did not know this, everything on the internet and news is not true. Remember this, the first casualty of war is truth. Let’s make sure we don’t give our adversary, Satan, any ammunition—after all, he is the “father of lies.” Is what we are about to say/post truthful?

Helpful – Are our words helpful, beneficial? Will it advance the Kingdom of God? Will it help us find positive solutions, or will it lead to division, destruction and add fuel to an already chaotic world? In short, are our words a part of the solution or part of the problem? Is what we are about to say/post helpful?  

Inspiring – Is our post going to inspire people to be better, do better? Let’s face it, there are enough negative voices and discouraging messages being circulated. It is no wonder that this generation of students is more consumed with anxiety than previous generations. Is what we are about to post lifting people up, or pulling them down? Is it inspiring?

Necessary – Do we need to say anything? No one wants to be around a person who has diarrhea of the mouth. You know, that person who has a strong opinion and is an expert on everything. Some things are better left unsaid. Just because we can say something, does not mean that we should say something. Is what we are about to post necessary? 

Kind – Are we simply being kind to people? Kindness is defined as, “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.” Do you think that our world could benefit from a little kindness? A smile, a helping hand, a cup of water, a hug (yes, even in the midst of a pandemic) is a powerful thing. We can’t be afraid or too angry to be kind. Does what we are about to post display kindness?  

Let us use our influence during this tumultuous time to make this world a better place. Let’s leverage our voices, social media, and other mediums to point people to the only source of lasting hope and peace: Jesus. We can do this much more effectively if we will T.H.I.N.K. before we speak or post. After all, words mean something.  


Rev. Clark Carter is the vice president for student life at Charleston Southern University.


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