twitter-logoJust 140 characters and two minutes.

That’s all it takes to spout an opinion or start a movement. In a flurry of emotional rhetoric, we have the freedom to proclaim to the world (or whoever’s watching) a point of view we may later realize was uninformed, or just plain over the top. But we do it anyway.

In my mother’s vernacular, some of us have developed an “itchy trigger finger.”

The new leader of the free world calls Twitter “modern communication” and says it’s a very effective way of reaching his 15 million Twitter followers. No doubt he’s right. And he is prolific; the man averages about 1 new “tweet” and hour. But I wonder how much thought he gives to his words and to other social media statements before he hits “post”. Judging from what we’ve heard and seen over the past year, not much.

The Wiktionary definition of someone with an itchy trigger finger is “a person eager to fire their weapon or likely to do so unexpectedly” or someone “with a tendency or readiness to act in haste or without consideration.”

Sound familiar?

Our next President, as well as those of us responding to his presidency via social media, would do well to heed the words of James, the earthly brother of Christ:

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” James 1:19

And if that isn’t clear enough, one could consider the wise words of Solomon:

“Do you see someone who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for them.” Proverbs 29:20

“A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” Proverbs 18:2

“Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.” Proverbs 13:3

Tapping out that very witty comeback or oh-so-original opinion with our itchy trigger fingers can undermine all the hard work we’ve done in the past to put forth an image that attests to our character and integrity. Thank goodness there is a cure for trigger finger.

Bind it, stop the inflammation and give it a rest.

“The time it takes to recover from trigger finger depends on how bad it is. The choice of treatment also affects recovery. For example, splinting may be necessary for six weeks. But most people with trigger finger recover within a few weeks by resting the finger and using anti-inflammatory drugs.” (WebMD.com)

The president-elect has time to get his itchy trigger finger under control. If he heeds the advice of James, Solomon and the medical community, in two months time when he lays his hand on the Bible to take the oath of office, that kink in his itchy trigger finger could be fully healed.