“There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.” Luke 12:3
Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees, the learned men of his day, who appeared respectable in society, but whose corrupt inner lives would eventually be exposed for all to see. This Bible story is thousands of years old, but it’s amazing how much it can speak to our internet era, how more and more our voices can be broadcast from the rooftops (or cell towers, even).
With an eye to the future, our son presented us with an Amazon Echo as a Christmas gift. Certainly it has potential to be a help in our senior years. Alexa is truly very smart and can cheerfully search for any information we need. She can play our favourite music, and turn on the light. She can respond to our whisper with a whisper.
It just feels as if there’s not much privacy left.
Cell phones track our movements, financial transactions leave a trail, photos have geographical co-ordinates encrypted within them. Laptops have webcams. When away from home, you can turn up the heat, start your laundry online. Our car is monitored by afar by the manufacturer, and we receive regular e-mail notifications after checkups. Advertisers track our Google searches and Facebook notes our lingering on a post. It’s as if the whole world is now like a small village, where everybody knows everybody else’s business.
In this kind of environment, we have a real responsibility to live lives of integrity, consistent in both inner and outer lives. More than ever, we also need to be cautious of a careless word, or of airing grievances. It can be amplified instantaneously over the world, echoing off satellites and affecting many more people than ever before.
“You never can tell, when you send a word,
Like an arrow shot from a bow,
By an archer blind, be it cruel or kind,
Just where it may chance to go.
It may pierce the breast of your dearest friend,
Tipped with its poison or balm.
To a stranger’s heart in life’s great mart
It may carry its pain or its calm . . . “
From You Never Can Tell, by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, 1850-1919