Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Tis the season for accusation

It takes a major world crisis to briefly break the stride of network news and social media obsession with the latest dripping-with-mud accusations being flung around the presidential campaign – either by the candidates or by their loyal supporters. Fact checkers can hardly keep up with the constant stream and the old adage, “If you are going to lie, make it a WHOPPER and many people will believe you,” seems to have risen to an art form. Having at times in my life been the target of painful accurate accusations as well as of horrific false slander, I know very personally how painful and damaging they can be. Charles Spurgeon used to say, “A lie goes around the world twice while truth is putting its boots on.” Proverbs, the Bible’s book filled with wisdom-nuggets, is brutal in it’s condemnation of gossip and slander, as in 26:22-28. It’s very much worth the minutes it takes to read! In my Bible reading this morning I was again reminded how often and how horribly our Savior, the sinless Son of God, was falsely accused (e.g. Luke 23:1, 2). It was a reminder that I should never be quick to believe accusations apart from compelling evidence from unbiased sources or admission from the accused as to their accuracy. It’s often important to try to discern the motivations of the accusers as that can reveal skewed perspective, blinding bias, or even incentive to lie. There is, of course, a legitimate place, even a moral responsibility, for confronting an evil-doer and from warning others of their danger. But such confrontations and warnings must be truth- and love-filled, and must be carried out with humility, integrity, and godly motivation. As a follower of Jesus, I should be committed to not being na├»ve or predisposed to believing accusations, to not inappropriately passing them on to others, to (whenever possible) take the accuser straight to the accused for face-to-face interaction, and to rebuke anyone who wants to dump their accusations of others in my lap unless they are asking for my help in addressing the problem in an appropriate way (e.g. Matthew 18:25-18 in interpersonal issues). And “yes” – just for the record in this political accusation season – I have sent personal emails to BOTH of the primary presidential candidates expressing my concerns. I didn’t think they would take my phone calls or arrange a face-to-face meeting.

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