Texting is a great way to communicate. If you have a smart phone, you know the convenience of texting, the fun of emojis, and the hilarity of gifs. Texting is great.
Texting is also dangerous. As a pastor, I regularly see relationships harmed because of text messages. Of course there are always underlying issues, and texting is never the real, root problem. But texting often makes underlying issues worse. Texting often takes small issues and turns them into big issues. Texting often adds fuel to an otherwise small fire. From my pastoral perspective (and personal experience), here are two times you should not text:
- You should not text when someone is upset with you.
- You should not text when you’re upset with someone.
It may be your spouse, a coworker, or a friend. But when someone is upset with you, or when you’re upset with someone, texting just isn’t the best mode of communication.
Maybe the biggest issue is the lack of “tone” and “body language” when you text. Even though the other person is not able to hear your tone or read your body language, they will assume they understand both. Once you hit send, you lose all ability to communicate through tone and body language. The danger is obvious. When a relationship is strained, the other person likely will not give you the benefit of the doubt. Instead, they likely will assume the worse about what (and how) you’re trying to communicate.
A better approach is a phone call (where someone can hear the tone of your voice). Even better is a face to face conversation (where they can hear the tone of your voice, see your facial expressions, and read your body language). When you need to heal a strained relationship, this is a more “incarnational” approach to reconciliation. It seems to be more like what God has done for us through Christ. God didn’t just send a message to rebellious sinners, he sent his Son to provide reconciliation. Whenever it is possible, instead of pursuing digital reconciliation, I think we ought to pursue incarnational reconciliation.
Originally published November 28, 2016 on landoncoleman.com.