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A Plea For Truth

“”I don’t know if this is true or not.”

I know it’s not true, but I wanted to get people’s reaction.”

“I just reposted it.  It’s not my job to verify it.” 

“I know it’s not true, but it’s funny!”

“I’m not sure whether it’s true or not, but this guy shouldn’t be elected.  All is fair in politics.”

These are just a few of the responses I’ve received when I’ve pointed out—mostly to close friends and some from other ministry leaders—that their social media posts aren’t true.

And, honestly, they are all pathetic justifications of dishonesty and a direct violation of the ninth commandment, which states, “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.”

Some of the people I’ve talked to justify their dishonesty by ignorance.  (“I didn’t know.”)  Some justify their violation of God’s commandment because of humor.  (“It was funny.”)  Some justify their deceit because the lie didn’t start with them.  (“I didn’t say it.  I just reposted it.”)  Some justified their violation of God’s command against false testimony because they wanted to start a discussion, or because of politics, or because of laziness.  (“I didn’t check it out, so don’t blame me.”)

You know the kind of posts I’m talking about.  You’ve seen them.  Posts about birth certificates, tax rates, and crime rates.  Altered pictures and manipulated videos.  Misquotes.  Innocent pictures claiming to be incriminating.  Medical misinformation.  Altered statistics.

And the worst part of it?  They are epidemic in the Christian world.  I’ve had to “hide” or “unfriend” many holding responsible positions in the church because of their continued dishonesty and their repeated justification of it.

It’s time that all Christians and especially Christian leaders read once again the 10 commandments and pay particular attention to commandment number nine.  “You shall not bear false witness” includes everything we post on social media.

So if you don’t know it’s true and you haven’t personally verified it—don’t post it or repost it.  If it’s not true but it’s funny—don’t post it.  If you want to get other’s reaction—post something you know to be true.  If you are tempted to repost something, verify it first.  If you repost, it is now posted under your name and you are responsible for the content.

We cannot claim to be preachers of truth and lie about other people.

Speak truth.  And only truth.