As Christians, we try not to lie. As humans, we end up doing it once in awhile, anyway. Conducting ourselves as Christian business owners—much less business owners of integrity, regardless of any degree of faith—requires self-discipline and letting our “yes” mean “yes” and our “no” mean “no.”
If that is true for our spoken word, it should also be true for our recorded spoken word: the voicemail messages we have on our phones.
Is it not one of life’s great frustrations to call someone and get a voicemail message that ends with something like, “…Leave your name and number and I’ll get right back to you,” and they don’t?
Let’s go one step further: the voicemail message ends with something like, “…Leave your name and number and I’ll get back to you just as soon as I can,” and after waiting a week you might say to yourself, “Man, that’s one 24/7 BUSY person!”
Well, actually, no one says that. Most of us say to ourselves, “Why are they ignoring me?” while thinking to ourselves, “So much for their professionalism!”
See the problem here? It has nothing to do with whether or not they are really just too busy, or purposely trying to ignore us, or anything else that is the actual cause for their delayed (or non-existent) response. It has to do with our perception of them based upon what their voicemail says; which has caused us to stumble.
We have stumbled into thinking worse of them than they actually are because, in essence, they have (unintentionally) lied to us—they didn’t get back to us right away or in a reasonable amount of time and some never got back to us at all.
Shame on them for causing us to stumble by recording a voicemail message that isn’t completely true, no matter how well-intended. It would do us all a lot of good if they were to establish a consistent time period to follow-through on what the voicemail says and check their messages regularly, or change their voicemail to a simpler message that is not committed to responding at all.
…Hey, I just thought of a new message for MY phone: “Hi, you’ve reached the communication line for Rick Hensel. If your call is important, please leave your name and number and a brief message; then start interceding on my behalf in the hope that you will be one of the blessed ones that I actually get back to once I’m not otherwise preoccupied.”
On the other hand, shame on us if we allow our thoughts to go that far towards judging their degree of professionalism solely based upon one circumstance…or two…or even more than two. After all, they didn’t mean to leave us hanging out to dry, wondering, of course. Keep that in mind.
How many times must we forgive them for their voicemail messages? I’ve heard that it’s at least seventy times seven beeps. (Yikes!)