Here’s a fun useless fact about me: I have teeny tiny hands. A friend in high school once called them “kitten paws.” Sometime around puberty, my hands simply stopped growing, locking me into a size 4 ring finger forever. I think I’ve finally resigned myself to the fact that I’ll never be able to palm a basketball. I think I’m going to be okay. 🤔
There’s only one not so teeny tiny facet of my hands: my thumbs. They’ve basically ruined any chance of hand modeling for me. They’re very short and very fat. When I was little, my dad encouraged me to stop chewing my nails, specifically that finger, so that my thumbs would look more proportionate to the rest of my hand. It didn’t work. I have this theory that because I sucked my thumb as a kid, I have permanently stunted their growth. They really are the pimple on the clean face that is my hand.
Good news is that it appears to not be genetic. *Peter breathes a sigh of relief*
There are perks to having dumb thumbs. My thumbs have become a scapegoat for me. Any physical task that I’m not good at, I blame on my misshapen stubs. My husband thinks it’s a lame excuse for ineptitude when I play video games with him, and he’s not wrong. But it comes in handy when autocorrect fails me in a text.
The thumb is an important part of the body. Without them, I couldn’t hold or grip things easily. I wouldn’t be able to pick things up or write correctly. And I wouldn’t be able to hitchhike either, which would obviously be devastating. 😂 No matter how odd it looks, the thumb is really incredibly useful.
With today’s technology, the thumb has a whole new super power: the ability to communicate. Most people use their thumbs to text, send emails, scroll, click links, like pictures & comment on social media. From the glowing face of a cell phone screen, our thumbs are showing us what is in our hearts.
The Bible talks often about the power of a different small member of the body, the tongue. With the tongue, we can both encourage others and tear them down. The cell phone has made the thumb the tongue’s new best friend.
And this new best friend has an even stronger set of skills. With the thumb we can “say” what we are thinking with anonymity. There are words we feel comfortable typing that we would never dare speak. Yet, the thumb lacks the tone and inflections of the tongue, so misinterpretation is rampant. Plus, the thumb is an avid record keeper (a double edged sword), and what is put out there can be tracked down even if the delete button has been pushed. If the tongue is a small spark that sets a forest on fire, then the thumb is a blow torch that wipes out an entire National Park.
We need to hold our thumbs accountable. What we speak is what is in our hearts (Luke 6:45), and the same goes for typing. You can learn a lot about what a person values by the links they click, the pictures they like, and the comments that they make. We “say” so much more than we think we “say” with our thumbs.
As believers, we want what we say and do to reflect WHO is in us. We live so often without conviction as we post and sometimes troll, even in His name. That is not how Jesus designed Biblical confrontation. Social media is almost NEVER the right space to have that kind of conversation. We need to learn to guard our thumbs.
We also need to learn to do the hard work of self evaluation before posting or texting. We can start by applying Ephesians 4:29 to the social media interactions we have. Is what I’m about to post wholesome? Is it helpful? Is it needed in this moment? Does it build others up? Is it gracious? If not, it’s better to put the thumbs to rest before they do damage.
Or better yet, we can redeem the thumbs. We can use them to send encouraging text messages to people who are hurting. We can use them to post photo captions that praise a good God. We can use them to forward email chains that build…nope…I take that one back. You should NEVER forward email chains. 😋
Whatever size or shape your thumbs happen to be (and I sincerely hope they’re not like mine 😉), let’s raise them up high for what is good, true, kind, encouraging and gracious. And may we twiddle thumbs before we post anything less. 👍🏼