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July 2, 2013

MAY: Words in the spotlight

(Continued)

Deen is not the first celebrity to find that words spoken in the spotlight are magnified, displayed, examined and replayed. The media enjoys building an unknown to the grand pedestal of stardom, but they take equal delight in covering the tumble and fall. Right or wrong, fair or not, the media has the power to create and the power to destroy.

The unspoken lesson from Paula Deen is that we are all in the spotlight. The eyes of those in our circle — of those we care about — are always upon us. The watchful gaze of a daughter, the critique of fellow-workers, the glimpse from our peers is inescapable. But today’s social media — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and a tsunami of other outlets — has the ability to make a celebrity out of us all. 

Recent survey data from ExecuNet found 90 percent of recruiters used Web search engines to research candidates and 46 percent said they had ruled out individuals on that basis.

Perhaps that is a part of the reason, Jesus encouraged us to have our “yes” be simply “yes” — no embellishment, no oaths, no perks, no trade-offs, no manipulation, no expectations. He advised our “no” to carry the same simplicity. 

The apostle Paul challenged his readers to always speak the truth, but to do so with love. Be known for your honesty, your gracious spirit and your wise and sparing use of words. The spotlight is much bigger than you imagine.

— Tom May is the Minister of Discipleship at Eastside Christian Church in Jeffersonville. He is an adjunct instructor in the Communications Department at Indiana University Southeast.

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