According to Mashable.com’s Pete Cashmore, a study released last year revealed that 47% of Facebook users have swear words on their pages.

We’ve all heard the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” We also all know this is a lie.

Yet the application of this knowledge is often lacking.

And it’s not just “those unbelievers” either.

When I teach college and seminary students who work with teenagers in their churches, one of their greatest frustrations is the inconsistency seen between how a student acts at church, and their “real” life revealed on social networks like Facebook. A student might be “fine” at a youth meeting, yet walk out the door and update their status with cursing or hurtful words, leaving a wake of hurtful comments in response.

As we enter the weekend, please remember–your words make a difference. I first took a trip to Haiti when someone encourage me to go through their encouraging words. A friend of mine proposed to his girlfriend and is now happily married after encouraging words from some of his friends about the relationship. My son and daughter aced their report cards this grading period because, in part, we encouraged him to work hard and told him that he could.

Here’s my Activist Faith application for the day: Take a hard look at your Facebook profile. Is it encouraging? If not, why not? What needs to change?

Remove what needs removed. Replace it with something that helps another person. You might even find yourself changed in the process.

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DILLON BURROUGHS is an author, activist, and co-founder of Activist Faith. Dillon served in Haiti following the epic 2010 earthquake and has investigated modern slavery in the US and internationally. His books include Undefending ChristianityNot in My Town (with Charles J. Powell), and Thirst No More (October). Discover more at ActivistFaith.org.

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