I have gotten quite an education over the past few weeks when it comes to the value people place on their own spoken words. I was brought up by a generation that prized what came out of your mouth. My parents came out of World War II and they considered carefully what was said. For them words were as good as a signed contract. I was trained from this same perspective and once I speak something I do it and that is the end of the story.
I would guess this thinking is more a reflection of what is in the heart of those involved than it is the actual words that are said. We always speak from what fills our heart, so those who have a basic foundation of honor and responsibility speak to that end. They say what they mean and fulfilled their word. Those who do not come from such a high place speak what is to their advantage, and then they do whatever works best for them. In other words, what they say means nothing, and no honor or veracity backs it up.
My first experience with the lack of verbal integrity in this generation came just two weeks ago. My wife and I have been looking to buy kayaks. We were given finances over a year ago for them and I was about to track one down through Craig’s List in our area. I sent a text to the owner and sure enough it was available. I made arrangements to swing by the owner’s house later that afternoon with the money and the intention to buy it. We agreed on the price and as far as I was concerned it was a done deal.
I was on my way to get my kayak and sent the seller a text saying I was on my way to pick it up. To my surprise, a text came back in a few minutes that amazed and saddened me at the same time. The person had apparently just received a little bit better offer from someone who had stopped at his garage sale. His text read, “Don’t bother to drive out here, I just sold the kayak for more money”. Without so much as a second thought or a desire to honor his own word, he sold my Kayak out from under me, and never even offered an apology.
Then came my second experience just this week. I had seen a great kayak on Craig’s List and the owner said “Everything MUST go. I am moving. Make a reasonable offer and it’s yours”. So I offered $300 and via text he accepted on the spot. He even sent me a picture to confirm what it was. I agreed it was exactly what I wanted and I would be there on Saturday to pick it up. I was happy, he was happy and we both got what we wanted. Ya right…..
As I was making plans to drive and get my kayak in comes the following text: “I have someone who will be here just before you. If he decides not to take the kayak I will let you know”. What the….. ??? Is this the Twilight Zone and have I fallen into a time warp from hell where no one is good for their word? My response was short and to the point. “I though you were selling it to me? Since you have no integrity don’t bother calling. … I’ll pass on it“.
How about you? What is your word really worth? Are you someone who means what you say, or do you say whatever you need to, and then shamelessly do what is to your own advantage? Ethics, integrity, honesty, righteousness; these are the foundations of a healthy society, and the bedrock of a sound mind. Enduring nations and honorable people are built upon them, but without these basics nothing can stand for very long. My prayer for America is that the next two elections will put into office those who set a moral and ethical gold standard. If we fail to do so, the downward spiral we have seen over the past 6 years will accelerate, and who knows where we will hit bottom. The facts are quite simple, we will either be part of the solution or part of the problem. Which will you be?