One of my pet peeves is when people forward an emotional story or prayer request, or sensational news story that gets people all riled up and isn’t even true. It seems we, the human race, are pretty quick to believe what other people say. Either that or we’re too lazy or careless to find out if it’s true before spreading it around to others.
I’ve had emphatic pleas from friends who read that if you forward this email to 100 people such and such famous company will send you a check for lots of money, using some email tracking program that doesn’t even exist! I’ve received prayer requests that are no longer valid – either the person was healed, found, or the situation remedied and the request just keeps circulating and circulating. The fabricated stories about faith are the ones that frost me the most. I once read an email story about Billy Graham evangelizing with the entire crowd from one of his rallies in New Orleans, many being saved, only to find out that someone made it up. It never happened. Billy Graham has done more for God’s kingdom than anyone I know, but I know he wouldn’t want people fabricating stories about him. We have to be really careful when we read email stories about our president or government. There’s a lot of uncertainty about our country’s future and some things happening we may not like, but lots of what you read or hear is biased, sensationalized, or downright false. When there is uncertainty, there tends to be fear, then anxiety, then even panic! How tragic if all that happens and the thing that started it all wasn’t even real.
You can believe something with all sincerity but it doesn’t make it true. This tendency also shows up in the world of spirituality and religious beliefs. Believing something just because ten of your friends said it’s true or because you’ve heard it from a famous person isn’t so smart. Find out for yourself, to the best of your ability, if it’s true. One reason some people get defensive if you question their beliefs is because they’re not really sure of their beliefs and it makes them afraid.
In my faith journey there are many times when I go to God and say, “I don’t get this. I need your help in understanding.” I don’t want my girls to just accept what we’ve taught them without asking God for themselves, without seeking and praying, without reading and thinking for themselves. Questions are okay! Doubt doesn’t have to be the opposite of faith or believing something. It’s part of the process – in my opinion – of finding truth. I wish everyone would apply this in relationships, too. If someone hears something negative about me, something I said or did, or a speculation about me, I’d want them to come talk to me and find out instead of just assuming it is.
Truthfulness may be becoming a rare commodity these days in our culture, but it is still priceless to me. What can we stand on if we can’t trust? I’ve been a very trusting person all my life, gullible in fact. It has led to hurt or embarrassment on more than one occasion! One time someone told me, “Hey Mimi, did you know the word ‘gullible’ isn’t in the dictionary?” and I believed them!
Champion the truth. Take the time to research before you pass something along to other people. Refuse to be a part of the deluge of deceit around us.