"You shall not be a gossipmonger among your people. You shall not stand aside while your fellow's blood is shed - I am Hashem."
Lev. (Tanach- Hebrew/English Old Testament).
I think FaceBook can rename News Feed to Bloodbath. Since joining I've noticed a disturbing trend. News Feed is less of a conduit to stay connected, and more of a forum to bash, criticize and gossip about others publicly. Often the person in the crosshairs is a stranger to the one, metaphorically speaking, pulling the trigger.
The person under attack may or may not be famous or have temporarily achieved a measure of notoriety. He/she, however, has no personal relationship with their attacker. Accusations are leveled based on information found on the internet (so it must be true-right?) or from the accurate, unbiased and truthful news media (that might exist in some other parallel universe).
For those blessed to live in areas that permit free speech it's so easy to blurt out one's opinions without thinking first. God takes gossip very seriously; it's right up there with shedding blood. Most recoil at even the slightest thought of perpetrating violence, but have no qualms when their words slice and dice someone to shreds. Even those they don't know.
"The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit" Prov. (NIV).
"Those who guards their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin" Prov. 13:3 (NIV).
"The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one's life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell" James 3:6 (NIV).
Ouch! Where's the nearest burn unit? Our mouths and our words can get us into serious trouble if we're not careful.
Balance is necessary. It is one thing to strongly disagree with some one's beliefs, opinions and actions. It is another matter to try them in the court of public opinion, even if we know them personally and have all the facts, and not just hearsay. I recently heard a minister remark that even though God has clearly stated that He doesn't approve or want human sacrifices, that doesn't stop us from tossing another sacrificial virgin into a volcano!
When tempted to vent about a person or situation, remember the Scriptures listed above. Placing a watch over our words and mouths preserves our lives. "...speaking the truth in love..." Eph. 4:15 (NIV) removes the supposed justification for vitriol. We must carefully measure the impact of what and how we say something on ourselves and on others. When doing so we'll, "grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is Christ" Eph (NIV).
How about you? How can your words, in any format, produce life and not death to you and to others? What measures, guidelines and such can you employ when expressing dissent? In the future, how will you evaluate a situation to determine if it is more beneficial to rant, or keep quiet and pray? Is the matter worthy of bloodshed?