What's Clever Today Could Be A Career-Killer Tomorrow
Wednesday, May 16, 2018 7:42 AM

What's Clever Today Could Be A Career-Killer Tomorrow

Wednesday, May 16, 2018 7:42 AM
Wednesday, May 16, 2018 7:42 AM

“For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” – Matthew 12:37

Even before White House staffer Kelly Sadler made the now infamous "he's dying anyway" comment in reference to Senator John McCain, there was three years prior another staffer described in one media account as an “unknown staffer working for a low-profile Congressman.”

What she wrote however, made her famous overnight. But not in a way wanted or planned. She posted a tweet criticizing President Obama's then teen-aged daughters.

Her rant became all the rage as her post went viral in a politically-charged atmosphere on a steroidal 24/7 news cycle.

Forced to apologize, she later was forced out of her job - never to be heard of again.

Many today question the relevance of the Bible, even relegating it to an archaic book with little to no connection with 21st century realities. Wrong!

Truth has no shelf life and what was true in Jesus’ day in relation to our words is true today – even more given instantaneous communication.  Once we press “Enter,”  “Send,”  "Publish" or “Post,” we no longer own our message.

For those working and serving beneath the glaring scrutiny of an often unforgiving, and angry public; what you and I post, if not carefully thought out, could come back with a ferocious bite and high price tag.

As a public servant leader before posting ANYTHING, take into consideration the following five things:

  1. Never post anything today that will shame you tomorrow. If you would be ashamed if it were flashed on local or national news, shared a million times on social media; or, privately made known to your worst enemy, don’t post it.

  2. Don’t be so trusting. As a public person you can count on having two things – private enemies and fake friends. People will turn on you in a heartbeat and what today may be a comical post shared between “friends,” could tomorrow be used against you to deep-six your career. In fact, count on it.

  3. Never, ever post when ANGRY! Benjamin Franklin said it best, “Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame.” No truer words have been spoken.

  4. Don’t bother to RSVP. Always resist the temptation to post anything Racial, Sexual, Vile or Profane. These are guaranteed to be used against you and count on them coming back to damage not only your career, but worse, your character.

  5. Lastly, most importantly, ask the question, “Do my words portray who I say I am in Christ?” This is what it all boils down to – for you and for me. As public servant leaders of faith every post on social media, email, text and every word in conversation is a portrayal of who we are. If what we write or say doesn’t speak well of Christ, guess what? It won’t speak well of us.

Do the words you speak and write accurately reflect who you are? 

How might you communicate differently if you knew Jesus were listening or reading your posts?

There is no anonymity with God. He sees and hears all. Honor Him today with your words.


Dorothy Burton is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Christians in Public Service, Inc. and the author of the book, Why We Fall.

She is a popular writer and speaker, speaking to faith and non-faith based groups, organizations and local governments on servant leadership and current events impacting public policy and American culture - offering practical and biblical solutions to common leadership challenges uncommon in 21st century public space.

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