Re: IBM cracks down

Sat, 02 May 1998 01:21:25 -0500

>>A friend of mine in Texas writes me that he has
>>been appending the phrase "God Bless you" to
>>his business e-mail and voice mail messages for some
>>time and has now been told to cut it out
>>or be fired.
>>He intends to continue the practice.

Sometimes I feel like no one else gets it. First off, let's look at what
the Bible would say about your friend's situation, and what Jesus would
want him to do when faced with a request from his employer. The work
situation is roughly analagous to the slave-master situation and we are
told to submit to our earthly masters "Slaves, obey your earthly masters
with respect, and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey
Christ." 1 Corinth 6:5; "Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything;
and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but
with sincerity of heart, and reverence for the Lord." Colossians 3:22

What your friend has been requested to do does not violate one of the ten
commandments, therefore the Lord would probably prefer that he obey his IBM
bosses. The obedience and respect that accompanies that act of obeying in
the face of your friend's obvious faith in God would go so much farther in
showing what his faith means than his contentious, prideful act of
disobedience. How we hate the word submit! Our pride is so strong, and we
hate to submit to anyone else's will -- but I tell you it is the only way
to understand God's will.

And then the replies...

>I think if IBM persists, they will ultimately make your friend a very, very
>rich man.

Again, the Bible clearly states that taking matters to court should be a
very very last resort. "Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is
taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he
may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the
officer, and you may be thrown in prison." (I know this is the reverse
situation, but illustrates how God obviously feel about the importance of
reconciliation, and that courts should not be usd to dispute every little
piddly thing). Is it what anyone would even want to spend their time doing,
battling one of the biggest mega-corporations in the world over an item
like removing something from their email signature file? Would anyone want
a bunch of money from their "boss" this way? (probably, but that's
unfortunately not the point...)

People are swayed MUCH more strongly by one's Godly example than by a short
quip put at the bottom of an email. Look at the situation this way. If your
friend haughtily refuses to do what IBM says, what is this saying to others
about how a Godly man behaves? If he removes the phrase in respect to his
"earthly master" he has the potential to show people on a first-hand basis
what being a man of God really is.

Even if the words "God Bless You" are promoting God's kingdom, the act of
IBM forcing such things will come back around to them. It will inevitably
get them bad press (you believe in God, trust that His will is working and
that things will not go unnoticed in the grand scheme of things).

>Seems to be a bit high-handed on IBM's part, although one cannot deny that
>there ought to be some limits to this sort of thing. How would our reaction
>be if an IBM employee used a phrase like "Allah is great" or "Satan supports

I understand your point Chuck, and I could go either way. I do understand,
from a busness perspective, IBM's desire to remove particular phrases from
business email, but on the reverse it wouldn't bother me a bit if IBM also
allowed mention of Allah. Who do you think Allah is? To Muslims, it is the
name for God - the ONE God. (which ultimately is our God too - if I
understand what I have read correctly, Muslims do acknowledge Jesus as the
son of God in fulfillment of the Scriptures, but they also believe Mohammed
was a later prophet. Its not like they are worshiping Satan! Now that is
another story, and I think anyone in their right mind would not allow their
employees to send out such a message. There seems to me such a great
misunderstanding of other religions among Christians). The point about
spreading the gospel to other nations/other peoples is much more in
teaching people to TRULY follow the EXAMPLE of Christ as it is trying to
get the whole world shoved into a Christian church. Its in the message of
one's entire Christian persona, how much do you *honor and love* the people
you encounter on a daily basis, and put their needs and desires above
yours. That is the message of Christ.

Wendee Holtcamp

Wendee Holtcamp -- GREENDESIGN Communications
Environment/Nature/Adventure-Travel Writing
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