Dude, your mic is on!
Recently an unidentified Southwest Airlines pilot on a flight from Austin to San Diego began ranting to his co-pilot about flight attendants he had flown with on recent flights. With beep-worthy expletives, he unashamedly bashed fellow in-flight employees regarding their age, sexual orientation and weight. His foul-mouthed tirade was heard all over Texas air space due to a stuck-open mic! For over two minutes, Houston air traffic controllers could not communicate with other planes, because this captain’s rant dominated the radio frequency. A Southwest official stated that he was “deeply saddened” by the pilot’s “inexcusable language”, and that the pilot was currently grounded without pay.
This recent news story is a reminder that as humans - all of our mics are on!
Whether we want them to or not, people are listening to us. They are listening intentionally or unintentionally to every word we say. Not only do they hear every verb and noun, they also hear every exclamation mark and attitude behind it.
It is proven that careless words can initiate illness, destroy the best of relationships, distort personalities and even cause war. A Ginsu knife is not the only thing that slices and dices!
The Bible says many things about our words . We are told that the power of life and death are in our words. We read that the words we use are the overflow of what we allow in our heart. That our words are fickle, praising God one moment and cursing His children the next. James tells us that the tongue’s potential damage is immeasurable and untamable, and that it is a fire demonically fueled.
Knowing that our mics are stuck open, is there anything we can do to prevent regrettable red-faced situations?
My best advice is to deal with your words before them go public!
Before a revealing and potentially damaging sentence is spoken, it is an internalized thought. While it is still in the deep recesses of your cranium, ask yourself three important questions:
Is what I’m about to say verifiably true? (Or is it just gossip or hearsay?)
Is what I’m about to share needful? (Does this person really need to hear this?)
Is what I’m about to share kind and edifying? (Will this lift-up or tear-down?)
If what you are about to say fails to fit cleanly through even one of those question-filters, my best advice - swallow it!
Remember, each of us with the fruit of the Spirit called ‘self-control’ have the ability to run this 3-question checklist, no matter how emotionally stirred-up we might be in the moment.
Friends, it’s better to swallow it than be grounded by it. Just ask a certain pilot.