I’m sure many of you are following the gripping saga of the American presidential election, as it enters the final stretch. Whether you like America or you don’t, you should be interested in what happens in countries like the US. Because of its sheer economic size, it has a material impact on the lives of everyone in the world. That’s just economics, not politics.
You know that I generally stay away from commenting on political issues, and this is not going to be a departure from that policy.
Here’s what caught my attention last Sunday morning as I reflected on the events of the last few days, with respect to the US campaign: One of the candidates, Donald Trump, has become engulfed in a massive crisis because of something he said to a friend idly (whilst on a bus 11 years ago) when he thought it was just the two of them. However, what he said was actually picked up on a live microphone.
Increasingly, what often creates controversy is something a candidate “said” at some point. And usually it’s been recorded by some technology of our time. All these things — emails, telephone calls, Twitter, YouTube, SMS, Instagram, the list goes on and there are more coming — they all capture and record something we “said” (even if it’s written).
Imagine 25-50 years from now (in the lifetime of most of us): The technology will be available to record virtually every spoken by those who run for public office, allowing us to review it before making our choice on a candidate.
And as the technology evolves further, even ordinary people will be subjected to the same tests. I know companies today that will ask a job candidate to give them access to their social media footprint. Yes, they may look at things beyond LinkedIn to learn more about you!
Two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ said these words:
But I tell you, on the day of judgment men will have to give account for every idle (inoperative, non-working) word they speak. For by your words you will be justified and acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned and sentenced.
Increasingly, the technology exists to record “every idle word that men speak.”
If Donald Trump loses this election, it can be said that he was “condemned by his words.” The same for Hillary Clinton; if she loses, it may be said that she lost because of those “damned emails” or things she said in them!
Not to oversimplify an election campaign with lots of issues, or get into politics at all: Whoever or wherever you are, and whatever you do… Your own words can make you, or break you.
As you use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, never forget these are “your words.” Once you click that mouse, it’s gone! (You cannot recall, and you cannot delete). A permanent record exists. One day, that record will either justify you, or condemn you.
We must be careful about the things we say. Even our most idle comments are now a footprint of our character, for the whole world to see and judge.
A few weeks ago, I was having a meeting with a very important potential business partner, and he began by referring to something I’d said against corruption years ago.
“Where did you get that?” I asked, quite surprised. “On YouTube,” he replied.
Live your life as though everything you “say” is being recorded somewhere, and you may be called to account for it one day… It’s not just a spiritual thing, anymore.