Wednesday, October 3, 2001
President Ronald Reagan found it out the hard way. He was preparing to do his regular Saturday morning radio address (which by the way, is live radio) - and he offhandedly made some joking comment about bombing the Russians. Unfortunately, that comment went out over the airwaves. Oops! See, he didn't know the microphones were on. Take it from me. I spend a lot of time in a radio studio. That's something very important when you're doing live radio - knowing when the microphone is on - or you can actually end up saying something that you really didn't mean for other people to hear.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A WORD WITH YOU today about "Always On the Air."
Actually, the best idea is to act as if the microphones are always on - that you're always on the air. Whether you're on the radio or not. Because whether or not you ever sit at a radio microphone, the things you say just seem to have a way of getting broadcast, don't they?
When our family got to memorizing Bible verses together, one of the first ones we committed to memory actually was our word for today from the Word of God. I think it's a great one for regulating what comes out of your mouth. In fact, what comes out of your mouth is what it's all about. Ephesians 4:29 says, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building others up, according to their needs."
God says your mouth is supposed to be used only for words that build up other people, never for words that tear them down. I wonder if there was a tape, let's say, of last week's conversations, how they would pass that Biblical test. That Ephesians 4:29 standard is followed by God's command that we "get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice."
Let's focus on the "slander" part of that trash talk list. Often, our negative words about another person aren't said when they're around - they're spoken behind their back. And I can't think of a more descriptive word for that than "backstabbing." We really are stabbing them in the back verbally. Again, I wonder how many behind-their-back, destructive comments a tape of your recent conversations would reveal. Comments that wounded a reputation - poisoned someone else's view of that person - and made God cry.
What? Made God cry? Yes. Ephesians 4:30 says, "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God." That sounds like crime, doesn't it? That's right after that "no unwholesome talk" verse. See, we grieve God when we tear down someone He is trying to build. Have you been doing that?
It's probably a good rule of thumb to do what a wise broadcaster on live radio does - never say anything about a person you wouldn't want broadcast to many people. We shouldn't be saying things about a person in their absence that we wouldn't say if they were in the room, if everybody could hear those comments. As far as God is concerned, the mics are always open - we are always broadcasting where He can hear. He's always listening - and our words never stop traveling to other people. What you say can do so much good. What you say can do so much damage.