Thoughts on Being Truthful

By DANNY MINTON

Growing up, my family and I would watch a game show called “To Tell the Truth.” The show consisted of three people claiming to be a particular person, with only one being the actual individual. The moderator would give a synopsis of the person and what they did. Afterward, a panel of celebrities would take turns asking the three questions attempting to figure out the correct one. The two imposters would make up fake answers to try to convince the panel that they should choose them. It was a game of truth and deception.

We live in a world where deception and false information are freely shared. I see this, especially on social media. With the continued advancements in technology, it has become easier to convince people that something they see is true when it’s not. Pictures on the internet become easily manipulated to present something completely different than the original. Backgrounds can be changed, objects and people added or removed, words on signs changed, and other details that change the entire meaning of the photo.

With VFX, it has become possible to change the effects and imagery on video clips. I saw one this week where a young child held on to a fence as he moved along the ledge of a multi-story building. However, he walked along a three-inch curb instead of a high-up ledge. Through VFX abilities, the author changed the entire picture from one of a cute little boy to a scary, life-threatening incident. 

In addition, deception finds a place in some of the false information passed on from person to person. Some news stories go through editing to only show a fraction of an incident without giving full context. This action can result in people believing something far from the factual context. I’ve found that even some “fact checkers” are also biased in how they interpret what is correct or incorrect. People then pass this on social media as truth without checking to see if what they share is accurate. 

Oh, don’t let me leave out commercials. According to the ads, there are a dozen ways to lose weight, all of which are the best. Movie stars in heavy makeup tell us how we can lose the wrinkles and look years younger. All kinds of doctors and celebrities “swear by” products and tell us that if we order now, “they’ll double the offer.” We should all pause the commercials and take the time to read the dim white disclaimer at the bottom of the screens, which puts things in the correct perspective. There do exist helpful products, but there are also many on the market with money as the only motive.

I’m saying that we need to be aware of things we see and are said, making sure that before we spread information, we know the whole truth or story. We need to take a lesson from the people of Berea in Acts 17 after they listened to Paul. Luke writes, “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” Acts 17:11 (NASB). Being truthful in what we say and share is a measure of our character. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” 1 Corinthians 13:6 (NIV2011) Proverbs 12:17 tells us, “Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence, but a false witness utters deceit.” (ESV) In his song recorded in Psalm 5, David tells us, “The arrogant cannot stand in your presence. You hate all who do wrong; you destroy those who tell lies. The bloodthirsty and deceitful you, LORD, detest.”  Psalm 5:5-6 (NIV2011)

One thing in our lives over which we have complete control is our voice, the words we speak, and those we share with others. James tells us to be “quick to listen, slow to speak.” He’s talking about anger, but the concept is the same in all parts of our life. In other words, make sure we know the truth before we open our mouths and comment on things we hear and see.

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 (NASB) 
Danny Minton is an Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ

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