For the Record

When I asked my father to fill in for me on this past Sunday, one of his first questions was, "You record services now, right?" "We do," I answered, "so if you mess up, I will hear it." (He then threatened to destroy all the microphones in the church.) I can understand his fear. Saying something which will go on a permanent record is more than a little intimidating. Even as you speak, you're somewhat aware, "Hey. This is never going to go away. They can listen to this forever."

The record isn't limited to audio recordings, of course. Nor to newspapers, videos, or magazines. In our society, everything goes on the Internet -- and the Internet, as they say, is forever. Every comment we make on social media is there to stay. It's on the record. People can browse and find it 24/7. A current trend is for potential employers to scope out your "online record" beforehand as a sort of character check. Increasingly, then, it matters what you say online -- and how you say it.

While there are many Bible passages on the subject, I want to mention only two. Colossians 4:6 says, "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." Likewise, Christ in John 13:35 says, "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love another." Our recorded statements should be testimonies of grace and love. We cannot point people to Jesus through belittlement and arrogance. Speak the truth in love, be gracious to other people, and speak well. Remember: this is for the record.

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