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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Vantage Point: Mistaken Message

By Ken Horn
Oct. 20, 2013

“The Greek word for all sand is Scott Belluzzo.”

That incomprehensible sentence cropped up when I was using new dictating software on my smart phone.

I later encountered worse in an email draft — a profane word I would never say, and would cringe should I hear it. Nevertheless, there it was, representing itself as something I had said, a “send” command away from one of life’s most embarrassing moments.

I find the software that lets you dictate emails and text messages, verbalize thoughts, and write short memos a great convenience — much better than typing on a tiny keypad. Fortunately, as an editor, I am accustomed to checking and rewording my emails if needed before sending them. Lots of people don’t do that.

Voice recognition software is impressive — but not perfected. Even slightly garbled words can turn your message into something you would never think of saying.

The Bible tells us to have “sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you” (Titus 2:8, NKJV). But how do we safeguard against things that aren’t even our fault? Here are four biblical suggestions:

Control your environment. “Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33, NIV). Aside from witnessing opportunities, keep away from sinful environments. Don’t let worldly standards permeate your home or life, e.g., profanity-laced and sex-saturated television and movies.

Be careful. Care enough to evaluate your communication. “Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you — guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us” (2 Timothy 1:14).

Clear up potential misunderstandings ASAP! Live by James 1:19: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” And help others to live by it.

Ask for help. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).

Oh, and practice grace. Give people the benefit of the doubt. You just might need that yourself someday.

Ken Horn

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