Assume everything you say will be made public–because it will be

The lesson of Lance Baxter’s dumb voice mail left on the Freedom Works system is this:

Whenever you send an e-mail, whenever you leave a voice mail, whenever you sit in a cubicle and speak loudly on the phone, whenever you have a conversation in a hallway at work, even when you and your spouse have a conversation in the car with the kids in the back seat, assume that everything you’re saying might end up on the front page of the newspaper or on drudgereport.com … because it might. Tailor your conversation according to that possibility.

That lesson was drilled into us when I worked at a daily newspaper. It helps avoid a lot of libel problems, to begin with. Plus, it keeps things civil and keeps you from saying something you’ll regret later.

Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble. (Proverbs 21:23, ESV)

So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! (James 3:5, ESV, my itals)

Even more important are the eternal implications. Saved or not, we’ll answer for everything we’ve done, which includes every word we’ve spoken. Everything, even done in secret, will be brought into the light.

And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. (Revelation 20:12, ESV)

For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. (Luke 8:17, ESV)

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