So here’s the deal. You’ve signed up for some free service on the Internet. Maybe it’s gmail, or hotmail, or yahoo, or Facebook, or something like that. Maybe you’ve bought into the idea that “free” really means, well, “no strings attached”. Maybe, if you thought that way, you were wrong. In fact, I’m certain you were wrong, and I’ve got some evidence, but we’ll save that for the time it might be needed.
Now, here’s the thing. I want you to try something. Set up one of those “free” accounts. Some of them are easy, like gmail, where you don’t have to give one little bit of evidence that you’re a real person, or anything else. Call yourself something that no one else using gmail uses, and I guarantee you’ll be given a “free” account. Set yourself up as some entirely random string of characters, and you’ve got an account. (By the way, I won’t explain, without cost, how to generate a random string of characters, such as “7&*8392$_$8D8/\/Vq82email@example.com”, but I’ll bet something like that would be accepted.)
So now that you’ve got your “free” gmail account, you can use that to establish a “free” Facebook account, and I’ll just about guarantee you’ll be accepted there, even if you use a completely meaningless Facebook user name, something like “_+_+__#_#_v_VV”. Then you’re in.
Now you can do wild and crazy things.
But, suppose that, at some later time, you decide you’re finished with playing the “free” game, because, oh, I don’t know, maybe you’re wasting too much time watching for who liked your little photo or video link or something… Good luck with disengaging from the gmail account you used to get into the game, or the Facebook account you created. I promise that neither wants to let their hooks go from you.
Now, whose hooks do you want to be stuck in you?
A radio ad for some gold broker or the other today informed me of some “facts”:
- If I had held $1M in cash in 1913, it would be worth $20K today.
- If I had held $1M in gold in 1913, it would be worth $62M today.
My skeptical mind asked the obvious question:
Does that mean what it seems to say? I mean, a million bucks in 1913 was a million bucks, and it wasn’t something else. So, if the dollar is now worth 2% what it was worth then, is that $62 million now really worth only two percent of $62,000,000? That would make it worth $1,240,000…
Is someone fiddling with the books?
Of course someone is fiddling with the books!
It occurs to me that I've been doing something completely awful, and doing it often, for practically all my life, and now it's time to come clean about it. Here we go.
Every day, my experience has been that some number of people will ask me, "How are you doing?" It's probably safe to say that the same thing is true of you. How do I most often answer that question? How do you answer it most often? I expect that I know the answer, "I'm just fine, doing well, how are you?"
We're going to leave aside the question regarding the sincerity of what those other people ask us, because it's pretty common knowledge that they could not care less how we are doing; they are just being "polite". Now, really, isn't that the truth? Honestly, have you ever answered to the effect that you're having an awful time of things and received anything like an interested query in return? My guess is that you have not.
From time to time I answer with, "I'm doing just fine, thanks to Jesus. Otherwise, not so well at all." Of course, that is absolutely true, but I don't think it goes far enough, in some way.
What if I simply answered with the whole truth? How about this for an honest reply: "I'm the dirtiest, rottenest, sorriest, meanest, most evil and putrid and self-centered sinner that ever drew clean air and got one heartbeat or brain wave laid after another, and I deserve none of it and ought to have died and gone straight to Hell a long time ago." I just might get the chance to follow that with, "But Jesus took care of all of that, and that's what I want you to know, because it is all that matters."
(Yes, of course, they're long out of earshot by the time I have said all of that. So possibly some refinement is in order.)
Now, that is simply honesty. It might be brutal, and it might be other things. But one thing it is not is dishonest. In the end it is also neither disinterested nor unloving.
Do you think such an answer might provoke your questioner to at least think about the more important things? I think it is more possible that might happen than it is if we just keep answering, with a smile, "I'm doing great! How about you?"
Good Lord! Why would someone I had just lied to want to hear anything more from me?
What do you think?