TRUTH: HANDLE WITH CARE
If we could only open our mouths to speak truth, how often would we speak? When we pass along information that may not be true, we are guilty of assuming...a tempting thing to do, but not the right thing. Gossip thrives on assumptions. Since we don't know the facts, we can create all kinds of reasons why people do things. But are we speaking truth? And if it's not true, will it do good to pass it on?
These are questions I ask myself every time I write, every time I share a link or a video, every time I speak. Sharing truth is not easy. People disagree on what's true and what isn't, so my truth isn't always seen as your truth. But regardless of how people feel about a subject, that subject is either true or it's not true. We can't take something as black and white as truth and make it subjective to individual areas of grey. The law of contradiction tells us that opposite ideas cannot both be true at the same time and in the same sense. For example, the earth can't be round and flat at the same time. It's simply not possible.
One example of making truth subjective is the belief that all religions are true and equal. "Tolerance is the new mantra in America today...You are now supposed to accept every belief as true. You are supposed to be especially tolerant of religions and are not allowed to question anyone else's beliefs...BUT to say that it is intolerant and narrow to question another person's beliefs is in itself an intolerant and narrow position." -Bringing Your Faith To Work Norman L Geisler and Randy Douglass
When I'm trying to say something, I often recall that someone said it perfectly in a book I have read, so I weave their comments into my own comments. This is how I convey truth. I agree with what that person is saying and I believe it to be true. But it's not true simply because I believe it. Its true because it's true. And if I pass along information that's not true, then I helped no one and I've contributed to a lie. Hence the saying, "When you assume, you make an a*# out of "U" and "ME".
How many times a day do we assume things? And how many people do we hurt by our assumptions? Only the person involved can know the truth of her situation. No one else can really know the whole story unless she herself tells it. But for some reason we thrive on assumptions and second-hand information to draw conclusions about people. I've done this myself and whenever I do it, I get a bad feeling. That's the holy spirit convicting me of my wrong. I'm so grateful to have that inner radar to set me straight again. I'm reminded that I need to step off my all-knowing pedestal and hand the keys to the kingdom back to God.
Sometimes we simply don't know if something is true or not. Only God knows. So wouldn't we be better off to pray about those things than to harp on them or pass them on as fuel for the gossip fire? Truth is a big responsibility and we don't always handle it with respect. We get a thrill dragging others down with our gossipy tidbits. Or when we do speak truth we speak it harshly. Sometimes I find myself going back to past blogs and deleting certain comments because they're too harsh. I'll remember something I wrote and it will nag at me until I reword it or delete it altogether. Always needing to have a harsh condescending comeback is a sign of pride. Another thing I've learned to do is pause before responding to criticism. The first thing that comes to my mind when someone trashes me is never pleasant. I want to tell them to get a life. But what good would that do?
Doing the right thing, choosing the good option is a struggle. We can either promote assumptions or we can promote truth. But just because something is true doesn't mean we should pass it on to others. It takes a great deal of integrity to keep truth to ourselves when sharing it would hurt someone. I guess the ultimate question is, "Will sharing this information help anyone or will it do more harm than good?" When that becomes our guide for exchanging information, then we've put other people above ourselves..above our need to appear intelligent, above our need to have a clever comeback, above our craving for gossip, above our wanting to lift ourselves up by dragging others down.
Assuming takes no maturity at all. Blurting out everything that comes to mind is something a toddler can do. But handling the truth in a caring manner requires discretion. Lord help me to do it in a way that is pleasing to You. I know I can't please everyone with my words, so help me to please You. Then I can be sure that what I say will do more good than harm.