Gratitude Day 588
Proverbs 12:13 – The wicked will get trapped by their words of gossip, slander, and lies. But for the righteous, honesty is its own defense.
Often, it simply happens. Without little thought.
Something “always” happens, when in reality, it’s happened maybe a couple of times. Don’t get me wrong. Improper behavior should not be excused or justified. But is “always” accurate? Such as, “He always expects me to _____.” Or “She always is mean.” Another example: “I always am the one who does ____.”
The story always sounds so much more interesting when the details become a little more exaggerated, dramatic and poignant. But do these details accurately convey the story?
I’ve done all of these … and more … myself. As a person who sometimes tells stories, I am guilty as charged. Frequently.
But is exaggerating or stretching the truth or misrepresenting what really happened helpful? Sure, if we want someone to side with our opinion or empathize with how we feel wronged. But it is also misleading, deceitful and dishonest.
It’s hard to combat these attitudes when it has become much more acceptable to repeatedly shared misinformation of late. I say this not as a political statement. I say this as a person who has heard lots and lots of people share information that is misleading, hurtful and not completely true. People who take their opinion or view and spin it in such a way that their view of the story becomes much more dramatic. I know this because there have been times, I know that I have done this very same thing, I’m ashamed to say.
At times, we justify telling white lies because we feel it might be less hurtful than the truth. One of the challenges with this is when we tell white lies, then we give permission to everyone around us to do the same. Seriously. Is this the “less hurtful” way we want someone to interpret our little bends of the truth? It’s easy to justify the white lies. I’ve done this plenty of times myself. But when we really examine the long-term pitfalls of this, we begin to see that the truth is far more helpful. For all of us.
Another challenge with white lies and bending the truth is that someone may interpret your stance as the Truth with a capital “T,” even if it really isn’t. We also see this on a very regular basis. Soon, people are repeating and sharing information that has drifted away from reality. Sometimes, this gets called into question. Other times, it simply keeps drifting further and further from reality.
I’m embarrassed to say that I have committed all of these misleading information crimes plus a whole bunch more. I share this information not only as a person who has witnessed it. I share it as a person who has been the one conveying unhelpful information.
Surrendering ourselves to try and slow down this behavior is not easy. We find ourselves more attractive to other people when our stories and views come across as more exciting and dramatic. The person who determined that shock and awe are a great way to gain another person’s attention was absolutely correct. The dramatic lines we read and hear and then repeat keep people’s attention, even if the information isn’t quite accurate.
While refraining from this type of sharing is most ideal, let’s begin by just trying to slow down our spewing of questionable information.
- Before sharing something on social media, take the time to see what the source is and whether the information is accurate. Or don’t share it.
- Rather than telling a white lie, refrain from saying anything on the topic at all. At times, I have been called Switzerland because I tried to remain neutral on a topic. At the end of the day, I think this is more helpful than twisting information for our advantage.
- However, sometimes, we leave out information because it simply feels easier. A way to keep peace and not appear to take sides. This one is hard for me. Knowing when to share and when to simply avoid harm by not sharing is difficult and requires some good consultation with the One who knows a lot more about this than I do.
- The story will be more boring and less interesting with the actual details. If this is the case, then is it important to share the story?
Being OK with stretching the truth when this is misleading requires some rethinking on our part. Why are we doing this? What are we trying to cover up? What is our end game?
Some thinking about this for one day is probably just the beginning of our thoughts with this. I’m realistic that know that this topic, like many of the little daily opportunities, could be fleshed out in a much longer situation. But rather than giving up on this today, just think about this:
Before I speak, am I being honest? If now, why not?
If you ask yourself these two questions just once today, this is the start of rethinking how you view this in your life.
We’re not going to “fix” this situation today. I know. The beginning? Realizing that there is a need to look at the things is the first step. And where we can begin today.
For the realization that we must be careful with our words, I am grateful.
Almighty God – Let’s begin with me asking for forgiveness for the many times that I’ve exaggerated, shared not quite true information and bent the facts for my advantage. Please remove these embarrassing and unhelpful bits of speech from my life. Now, may I begin to think about how I can be more helpful in situations than hurtful. Amen.
Stop by diannedeatonvielhuber on Instagram today for a few more thoughts about today’s Lenten topic.
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