by JoJo Tabares
“My lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit.” Job 27:4
At first glance you might think you don’t struggle adhering to this verse because you’d never think of speaking outright lies. However, technology affords us many ways to utter deceit these days, even without us realizing we’ve done it. Lies aren’t always as obvious as scriptures discuss. “His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and vanity.” -Psalm 10:7
Most of us wouldn’t knowingly deceive, defraud or curse someone. We’d be instantly convicted if we hurt someone because of our words. We’d probably run to apologize and make amends, but there are ways in which we can lie, or at least unknowingly pass along a lie. I’m going to share three ways in which we sometimes find ourselves in violation of the spirit of Job 27:4.
1. Passing along Urban Legends
Information in the Information Age is abundant and easily found, but it isn’t always true. “He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him.” Proverbs 18:17 There are so many bits of information passed along the Information Superhighway that just isn’t so. It seems plausible, but just doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. Urban Legends have been created and twisted in order to suit a particular situation, goal, philosophy, political agenda or social issue for years. We all know this, so why are so many of them passed along?
Most Urban Legends are passed along out of laziness. It seems valid at first glance and we just don’t have the time to check it out to make sure, besides, our friends will think it’s interesting, funny, moving. And what harm could it do if we pass along something that really isn’t so? Plenty! Someone could ACT on it! Those on your email list may think you wouldn’t send along something without checking a valid source so they will give it more credibility because YOU sent it through. They won’t check it out because they believe you already would have. They’ll forward it to others, creating a buzz, a hoopla, a movement, a chain of misinformation that others may act on. Those who do may lose money, time and credibility. If you become known for passing along false information, your word on other matters will become suspect. What a shame if that were to include your testimony and sharing of the Gospel.
2. Not listening or paying attention
“He who answers before listening-that is his folly and his shame.” Proverbs 18:13 In our busy world, it’s so easy to begin reading something and just KNOW you understand and then passing along the information as you understood it. “Busy-ness” forces us to cut more corners than just checking things out. It, often times, pushes us to half-heartedly listen to Aunt Martha when she is telling us what she’d like everyone to bring to Thanksgiving dinner or not to pay attention to details when little Johnny tells us he “found” a toy. Not listening carefully or not paying close attention can lead us to pass along false information leading others into trouble we may never even realize we’ve caused.
3. Not speaking up when someone else utters deceit
In a slightly different way, we also pass along a falsehood when we choose not to speak up when someone else utters a lie. “With his mouth the godless destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous escape.” Proverbs 11:9 This is often a conscious decision, but one often made out of fear. We are sometimes fully aware that someone is lying but we are too afraid of the consequences to contradict him. We may be afraid of losing a friendship, stepping on toes, looking silly, being judged, putting ourselves under scrutiny or even losing our job.
So what do we do in this busy information Age to ensure we don’t pass along untruths? Here are JoJo’s Rules of Information Sharing:
- If you don’t have the time to check out a story before you pass it on, DON’T!
- Check things out easily and quickly on www.snopes.com
- Try to find two or three independent sources
- JoJoism#200 “If you’re not willing to take the time to communicate effectively in the first place, you’re doomed to clear it up in the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth places!”
- Pray over what you share and ask God to give you the words you’ll need.
- Have courage! “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” -2 Timothy 1:7
God gave each of us a voice and a heart that has precious words to share—things only YOU can share with the world. Be sure to guard your credibility, your honesty and your integrity by verifying what you are about to share.
JoJo Tabares holds a degree in Speech Communication, but it is her humorous approach to communication skills which has made her a highly sought-after Christian speaker and writer. Her articles appear in homeschool publications, such as Homeschool Enrichment Magazine and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, which also endorses her Say What You Mean curricula. You can also find JoJo on web sites such as Crosswalk.com and Dr.Laura.com. For more information on communication FUNdamentals and Christian-based communication skills for the whole family, please visit http://www.ArtofEloquence.com