Even as children we knew if we chose truth, our words had to be factual. "Cross your heart and hope to die?" Now that's commitment to the truth!
As adults we stress honesty to our children. Integrity matters even in little things.
As Christians we handle God's Truth so we must be trusted to be accurate in our words.
The gospel contains some hard truths, hard enough for the world to believe--like Jesus the God-man, His virgin birth, walking on water, resurrection, miracles, heaven and hell. These can't be scientifically tested or proven. We don't see, hear, smell, taste or touch them. How are we to be believed then? How is God's Word to be trusted?
By faith. Faith in Him. Faith in us as truth handlers. To be reliable witnesses to Truth, we must carefully handle truth in ALL things.
Kathy mounts her soapbox here.
Christians often jump aboard whenever they hear or read a dramatic story or warning that supports right wing views, whether religious or political. Now I love a good story as much as anyone. My blogs prove it. But if we are known for passing along fodder without researching its veracity, we're just gospel gossips! I've even mentioned it to friends when I found their story to be more in the "Once upon a time" category.
I see it all the time on Facebook, emails, newsletters and church bulletins. Sometimes we even hear it in sermons. Do we hit send without checking out for truth? Are we too lazy to research or just careless with truth? Certainly we're not so naive as to think because it was on the internet, it must be true. We might pass along an article under the guise of, "I care about my family and friends so I'll warn them." That well-meaning approach may eventually cost us credibility with those we love most.
As a Christian I feel we should be held to a higher level of honesty, accuracy and truth telling. Reader's Digest does! They research facts many times before publishing. Sometimes they still get it wrong. But they try.
Even red-faced editors print newspaper retractions when they get it wrong,. It may be in small print and buried but they know the importance of reliability so they try.
Reporters know loss of credibility may even cost them their jobs! A whole newspaper recently folded (yes, I meant that pun) over integrity.
Snopes, truth or fiction, urban legends are not infallible but at least a step in the right direction of research.
Let's be good Truth bearers since the Truth abides in us.
If we're to be believed, unlike the little boy who cried wolf, we must do better. The world already sees us as naive, easily duped, uneducated and out of touch with reality. Satan fathers lies. Don't be his conduit!
Our integrity may be the real test of character. Handle God's Word carefully. Handle your own words carefully. The two are linked!
After I wrote this blog, I ran across this.
Rev. Chuck Swindoll writes:
We live in a day of hearsay, when few people pass along information that is precise and reliable. Do you? Are you careful about what you say? Do you have the facts? Do you offer proof that the information you are conveying is correct? While there are occasions when it's appropriate to pass along needed and serious information to the right sources, there's a growing preoccupation with rumor and slander. Half truths and innuendos become juicy morsels in the mouths of unreliable gossips. There is no way to measure the number of people who have been hurt by rumor, exaggeration, and hearsay. Perhaps you have suffered this yourself.
Be careful what you say. Be careful how you say it. Be careful that you send the right message, that you send it to the right person, and that you do so with the right motive.