Updated: Dec 16, 2021
Have you ever read something that spoke to you completely irrelevant to what you just read? I find that occurs at times when reading the bible.
I will be struck deep in my soul as if a mystery just unfolded that had nothing to do with the words on a page. That happened today. While reading Deuteronomy 27:18, I was struck strangely and it made me stop and re read it multiple times. It spoke the same thing over and over. It caused me to pause to sort out what it meant.
The verse says "Cursed be anyone who misleads a blind man on the road.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen".
All of the sudden felt this strong sense that it was about marketing. But with a much deeper application. That was a bit puzzling?
For the past six years and up until mid October of this year, I have been working in the e-commerce world. Doing a variety of sales and technical work for companies offering coaching and training in various methods and genres of business.
One thing they all have in common is a marketing methodology that provides samples of what they can do to hook you to buy into the bigger picture. It is a great methodology that benefits many. Where it gets sticky is when the sample and promises don't exactly match the deliverables.
Many companies offer so many perks and bonuses that many clients forget everything they are supposed to get. Sadly, as one CEO of an unnamed company said to me once, "we hope most do forget".
I share this not to shame, blame or defame any company out there who offer great products and services online using the over deliver method of marketing... (because it is a great thing to do for clients), but to focus on the intention behind it. Doing what we say and saying what we do. It affects business and individuals alike.
It is fantastic to offer great content and products, but to offer what is never intended or hoped to have to deliver, well, it is like misleading a blind man.
I recently read a book about about the depression era. The book detailed how the west offered promises of work for those impoverished dust bowl migrants from the east. But when they arrived, there was minimal work and horrific living conditions. So horrible that many died from malnutrition, illness and even murder, at the hand of greedy land owners.
The words to these distressed people were full of promises but in reality, were just a hook to get them to come west, only to be enslaved and mistreated. The 'marketing' strategy worked. The intention however was to replace the labor force from recently deported workers. Workers they despised but realized needed. So they devised a plan to lure unsuspecting desperate and impoverished fellow American citizens to become their slave laborers instead.
The newly arriving workers would never get ahead. They left everything for a promise of a better life. Instead, they were barely able to survive. Land owners became richer and themselves poorer. Trapped and hopeless.
It is so easy in our culture, even for Christ followers, to forget who we are representing when engaging with others, wether in business or personal life. We 'market' what we want others to see, whether products, services or ourselves, in hopes others will buy into what we are selling. But often we are not offering what is totally true.
We can mislead others for our own gain, protection or benefit.
The verse above came to me as a reminder of how easily sin can entangle us to sin against others or even set a snare for others to follow us in our sin. We can mislead in business regarding our products and services. We can overcharge, skim, go under the table, full of self-justifying reasons.
We can do nice things for others to get them to like or approve of us.
Political leaders can manipulate, coerce and twist words to make things sound like it is in the publics' best interest, when in truth, it has deceptive purposes. In relationships, vows, promises and trust is broken far too frequent. Even some churches offering safe places to be real, only to extend heavy burdens of shame, guilt and pressure to perform.
Friends, families, passerby's on the streets all can become ensnared in our own webs of our marketing strategies.
So how do we stop the cycle? Where is the hope for us to stop doing this to others or to not be caught in another's trap?
It starts with us, Individually. These things are symptoms of a greater and deeper source.
Envy, conflict, jealousy, greed, immorality of all kinds, does not just happen out of the blue. They happen when one spark of self gratifying thought is allowed to take root and grow.
When sin is allowed to override virtue, honesty, integrity and selfless unconditional love.
A simple thought of 'just this one time I will'... can result in a corrupt company. An addiction. A tax evasion. An automobile accident. A ruined relationship.
Doing something for someone to benefit our own sense of value and worth can start a pattern of dysfunctional destruction to a relationship.
Everyday, every moment we have opportunity for do-overs. If you are doing something in a way that is deceiving yourself or another, stop! It really is that simple.
Turn the other direction and run, don't walk. Press on toward what is right.
"But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin" - Hebrews 3:13