Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Truth

If you do not have an e-mail address, some will say you are not in touch with the times. However, on some days, I believe the “e” in e-mail stands for “evil.” Those of us who send and receive messages through this particular portal, know it can be very frustrating at times.

We get fake Amber Alert messages. We are told that if we forward a certain e-mail to at least 10 friends then Bill Gates will send us some money. We are regaled with heart wrenching or inspiring stories that are supposed to be true, but turn out to be a story that was fabricated years ago.

One such example that I received last week is the story of Jay Leno’s essay on the blessings we have in America. The following is an excerpt from the e-mail.

A recent Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the President. In essence 2/3 of the citizenry just ain't happy and want a change. So being the knuckle dragger I am, I started thinking, 'What are we so unhappy about?’ Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 Days a week? Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter? Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year? Maybe it is the ability to drive our cars and trucks from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move through each state?(Attributed to Jay Leno)

The essay goes on to list other things that we have to be thankful for. While this is a great essay, it was not penned by Jay Leno. It was authored by Craig R. Smith of the World Net Daily. I found the true author of this essay in a matter of seconds online.

This is a great example of how rumors get around. All it takes is one person to carelessly give out information, others to halfway hear and repeat it, and many more to pass it along as fact while never checking to see if it is true. How many times have you told the story about the man who was not hired by the CEO of a large company because he salted his food at lunch without tasting it? That one’s not true either.

While some don’t really think this is very damaging in the big scheme of things, I do. The danger in passing along undocumented information, that happened to a “friend of a friend”, is twofold. First of all we begin to doubt everything we hear or read. The second danger is that we begin to believe everything we hear and read. The first danger is that of cynicism and skepticism, and the second is gullibility.

After the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century, many people were displaced from their customs and ways of life. As a result, in the generations to follow, the ability to read and write was something a commoner did not need. Therefore, over time this ability was lost. In many cases, only the church retained the art of reading and writing.

Because the people could not read the scriptures for themselves, they became prey for corrupt priests who knew the commoners would believe anything they were told. The people were slaves, in a sense; to the church because they did not question the information they were given.

Today we have more information available to us than ever before. We have entire libraries at our fingertips, on the internet. Many people had the opportunity to watch the Mars landing live last week, and we can follow a storm with the radar on our own home computer.

What are we doing with this access to information? Are we really squandering our time and resources by spreading rumors and gossip even faster? What if we use this resource to study God’s word to learn the real Truth? What if instead of forwarding a joke that has been making the rounds since 1942, we make sure people hear about the love of Christ?

I challenge you to make sure the words from your lips, e-mails, texts and letters are true. If people can’t believe you in everyday subjects, why should they believe you when you talk to them about Jesus?

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32)

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker. (2 Timothy 2:15-17)

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