"A lie can travel half way round the world while the truth is putting on it's shoes"
Charles SpurgeonI remember once, a few years ago, writing an email that I felt tremendously proud of. At the time I thought that upon clicking send I would be injecting such challenging & arresting truth into the life of the recipient that they would be arrested by my wisdom & razor sharp critique.
I thought their whole world would be redefined because of my brilliance.
Surely they needed to hear what I had to say.
So I clicked send.
Unfortunately for both of us the reality is something altogether different. Within my email's paragraphs were line after line of damaging, hurtful criticism untempered by any kind of grace. I had originally thought it inspired. But on reflection my words were fuelled by huge measures of arrogance, hurt & a tragic lack of self-awareness. It was full of self-centered lies which suffocated any hint of the truth from which they sprouted. Yes, there was some truth. But it was smothered.
An email written in haste. Sent in haste.
Needless to say the phone call I quickly received back from the recipient rejuvenated my evidently residual supplies of humility. I still feel the pang of shame as I remember the episode today.
Spurgeon died in 1892. He didn't know about my email. Nor for that matter did he know about aeroplanes, the atom bomb or facebook. (In fact, when I wrote that email I didn't know about facebook... but that's beside the point)
More to the point I'm sure he had no idea how the wisdom quoted above would resonate and clang with ever deepening gravitas in a contemporary world where gossip & lies are spawned, shared and strengthened in the time it takes to tap a return key.
If today you have, like most of us, the opportunity to post your status and comment to the masses then do so But think twice unless you want to make the same mistake that I made. Sometimes... no... often it's better to not say anything at all rather than risk perpetuating something you know with cool judgement to be hurtful, ungracious, unkind or simply unhelpful.
Just a thought.