January 20, 2014


A young businesswoman recently did a very dumb thing, sending a Twitter message—or “tweet,” as they’re called—that was exponentially removed from good taste, decorum, or common sense. She did this before flying from London to South Africa.

Because she held a reasonably high-level communication job for a public company, someone saw the “tweet,” and made an issue of it online. By the time the young adult landed, she was not only out of work but also globally shamed.

Well, you might say, people shouldn’t do stupid things in public forums, or else they should be ready to suffer the consequences. And you would be right.

I have no way of knowing her circumstances, what else may have been involved, or what her heart is. What I do know is that she was apparently well educated, experienced in business, and trusted enough to be given a position of responsibility.

Where is mercy in all of this? Shakespeare’s oft-quoted lines from The Merchant of Venice bear repetition here: “The quality of mercy is not strained. . . . It is twice blest; It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.”

Sadly, mercy isn’t found much in the business world these days. Unlike baseball, instead of “three strikes and you’re out,” it’s just one strike. That strike cost a young person with, presumably, great potential a good job, and perhaps their chosen field entirely. It’s a fair punishment, I guess, unless you’re the punishee, or are related to that person.

Jesus didn’t judge people on a single sin; the woman caught in the act of adultery wasn’t condemned, but told to “go, and sin no more” (John 8:11, KJV). I’m fairly sure the person fired from their (literally) high-flying job won’t repeat her mistake, but is someone willing to grant another chance?