Welcome back to the Life on Target podcast. Yeah, that’s what it’s called. I’m your host, Nathan Spearing and today I’m going to be bringing you a topic or discussion on a topic of something that I’ve been thinking about for quite a while, continue to see its application in my own life and hope that it will be helpful to you as you charge on at your mission. The thing that only you can do, the thing that God puts you on this earth to do boldly, to get your life on target.
Once Said, Lies Are Difficult to Fix
So, there is an old proverb that essentially goes like this. There was a man who said something about another person that turned out to be untrue and his conscience was burdened. So he sought out his pastor for advice to make restitution. The pastor oddly instructed him to get a feather pillow and return the next day, when the man returned the next day, the pastor instructed him to go up on the roof of the church, cut a hole on the side of the pillow and dump the contents of the feather pillow out off the roof of the church.
And then the pastor instructed that man to go and retrieve every single feather. The man said, this is impossible. And the pastor wisely explained to the man that the damage done by speaking untrue words about someone is equally impossible to undo. We know that in Proverbs 18:8 it says that, “The words of a whisper are like delicious morsels. They go down into the inner parts of the body.” Whether you hear something true or untrue about somebody, it is almost impossible for the contents of those words to not affect your opinion on the subject. The words that you hear, the power of the tongue go deep into your being. And even if it turns out to be untrue afterwards, it requires discipline and diligence as a person to not let that affect you. Proverbs 14:5 states that, “A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness breathes out lies.”
What Kind of Witness Are You?
And I think in this social media culture, you know that story that I told just a moment earlier about the feathers, in the social media culture in a way, when we post things, when we put things online, we become witnesses of things. We become someone that has the power to do good, the power to portray truth, or the power to breathe out lies to either be a faithful witness or a false witness. We see in Deuteronomy 19:15, “A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed, only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established.” There’s a lot of people rendering verdicts on other people in this day and age, after a single witness bears a testimony. Proverbs 18:17, cautions us against making a verdict after one testimony says, “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.”
So my admonition for you today is, are you somebody who takes an account from a single witness, lets that account go down into the inner parts of the body, like we see in Proverbs 18 and affect your opinion of political opinions, or of people above their reputation, or are you the one that understands that one witness may seem right, but that the other side of the story is something that needs to be heard before you make a verdict? And in some ways, there are not just two sides to a story, but there are multiple sides to the story and that the number of witnesses that you get will establish, Proverbs 11:14 also says, “In abundance of counselors there is victory.” (NASB) Are you the person that gets wise counsel, are you the person that gets testimonies from multiple witnesses?
I can think of a recent example where a prominent magazine ran a hit piece on a pastor in our circles. And I’m not going to mention the magazine’s name, because they aren’t going to get any free press from the Life on Target podcast. I don’t want this podcast to be a reactionary podcast. I want this podcast to be a prescriptive podcast that encourages you and doesn’t give “journalists”, “press” that will find one witness. They’ll seek out the one witness, they’ll run the story. They’ll multiply the feathers, if you will, that were dumped from the rooftop, to sell, to make money. And they don’t take the time to get two or three witnesses to actually weigh the facts. And you as an individual living and working and consuming media and walking the streets and entering into relationships with people in your church, with people in your community, you will often find yourself …
I was talking to some clients today in my conference room. It feels sometimes like the game, Twister. I don’t know if y’all remember that, the mat you throw out on the ground and it has rows, red, yellow, green, and blue, and you roll or spin the dial. And it says, right foot and then a color. And then you get in there. And I don’t know that’s probably very politically correct kind of game to play, but I played it as a kid because we were still allowed to have fun.
Anyway, it feels sometimes socially like you’re playing the game Twister and you got your foot in the church camp and then you go out and you have your right hand in the community, and you have your left foot over here. And not in the sense that you are a different person and you’re a chameleon, because you shouldn’t be doing that. You shouldn’t be projecting a different version of yourself and keeping your faith private when you’re out in the public square, because that’s not where Jesus belongs.
Separation of church and state after all. No, not like that. I’m not trying to say that, but I just, as you live and you work and you live life on target and you do things boldly and you build businesses and you seek the good of the city and you plant gardens and you raise children and you walk with them by the way. And you talk about the commands of the Lord and you raise them up and you interact with people and you show them the joy of Christ. They’re going to talk. They’re not all going to have your worldview. They’re not all going to understand how important it is to have discernment, to weigh the account of multiple witnesses.
And I should say, you may not need to even get multiple witnesses because you are not the person that should sit in judgment over this particular matter. So, you have no business going around and seeking to find out the info and “Oh, let me see if so-and-so said what’s right.” Because in a sense you are being the gossip. You are being the whisperer of the delicious morsels. If it’s something that you are directly involved with and my dad always used to say, “Or if you’re a part of the problem, or you’re directly a part of the solution.” If you’re not either of those things, then stay out of it, let the proper authority deal with it and don’t … just let it die.
Take that delicious morsel, that word that is trying to affect you and speak truth and seek wisdom and pray that it doesn’t affect your opinion of people. And then forgive that person that said it and be the one where when gossip is whispered to you or dainty morsels, where things are said about other people, that’s where it dies. It goes no further than you and you have the maturity to let it die with you.
Be Bold with the Truth
And in some case the boldness to say as a Christian, “I don’t think we should be talking about people that way.” Because it’s really easy in those situations, especially if we have three or four people there, to just be silent. But Proverbs also says that “You drive out the scoffer from your midst, that you’ll have peace.” (paraphrase) And in some ways, speaking to scoffers, speaking to whisperers, and that’s going to require discretion as well. You don’t want to embarrass them in this mixed crowd of people and just crack off and be the one that’s there with the double barrel rebuke to their face in public. Like that’s not how we’re going to do this. Maybe you go off to the side and you say, “Hey, I just, I’ve heard you speak that way about it. I don’t know that is going to be sowing peace and purity of the church when you speak that way.
And I just wanted to encourage you …” And that actually may cost your friendship. And that’s also why as church leaders and people, we have to be bold. We have to speak the truth. We have to be willing to risk having people be offended. And I know that in the circles that I run in the church circles that I am, for the most part, I am around people that want to live the truth and want to be confronted when they do that. I’m blessed to have some very strong mature Christian people in my life and people that will speak truth to me that I can go to them. That being said back to that, being the judge, I think that you should try to put yourself in the position of a judge as you see stuff come by your social media feed. As you hear people say things and realize that like that game Twister, you’re going to be touching different circles of people.
Non-verbal and Verbal Communication Must Match
You’re going to be kind of having to contort yourself in certain ways to stay balanced, to stay in the right frame of mind and to bless and encourage everyone that you’re around and to do that, you have to apply the right amount of weight to their words and to test the witnesses and to understand where they’re coming from. And that is a good segue into what I learned in the military. I may have talked about this before. I don’t think so, where there’s verbal and non-verbal communication. And I think that depending on who you look at, nonverbal or the contents, the actual contents of your words is about 8% of communication. The actual words you choose and so much more is about your tone of voice, your inflection, the way that you handle yourself, your body language, your facial expressions, even the muscles on your face, how you contort them and tighten them.
And all of us have that capacity to understand who’s authentic to understand that. And so, you have to be doing that as you realize, or as you try to discern as Proverb 14:5 says—who are the faithful witnesses, who are the false witnesses? And look for that asynchronous verbal, non-verbal communication, that disparity between that and be able to discern whether or not they’re speaking the truth. And if this is something that you’re directly involved with and that you are part of the problem or a solution, having the maturity to pause, reflect, pray, seek the wisdom that can be provided to you via the Holy Spirit.
Talk to your spouse, in some ways I really value my wife as a sounding board. Now it’s possible in your marriage to gossip, to go and say something, repeat something to your wife, to repeat something to your husband and you know, like the evan-jellyfish way, “Oh, I just really need prayer on this. Can you help me? I’m just praying. I’m just seeking the Lord, but Sally’s a pain in the butt and I can’t stand her. And she said these things and I just, I need prayer about it.” You know, don’t do that. But also, your spouse—you being one flesh—is a perfect opportunity to go to them and to say, I say to my wife, “Hey babe, I’m trying to figure out, should I talk to this person about this? Could I, whatever.”
And my tendency is to want to just go right at it and confront somebody or to say something about it. And I value her say, “I’m thinking about doing this.” And she can often say, “Hey, well, let’s pray about it for a little bit. Let’s take some time. You need to cool off. There’s some emotions here that can be an indication that maybe you’re not seeking the peace and purity of the church because you’re angry. And that the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” So I would say that there’s some of that to it. And just taking that pause, getting some counsel and then figuring out how do I weigh these witnesses?
Fact Check the Media You Consume
And that is in social media. We’ve seen a lot of these reposts of this Ukrainian thing, “war scenes” and wrenching family videos and found out that they’re not real. Photos were taken prior to the Ukrainian conflict, prior to this situation. They were from a movie and we’re taking those feathers that are essentially lies and you’re duplicating them in time and space and zapping them around the world with your social media feed and causing a lie to continue to live, instead of seeing it in your social feed and letting it die there—not being a propagator of lies and continuing to be a witness that breathes out lies.
But as a member, as a Christian, as someone who is seeking to be the truth, lie-proof yourself, take the time. Do the research, find the article. If it looks like it’s a fake article, go to that news source, do a quick Google and take a phrase from the article and Google it and see, was it really actually put out on a notable publication? Or is this just a screen cap or is this a Photoshop or is this whatever. It takes five seconds people. Stop spreading fake news.
Stop being the person that is triggered and being manipulated by these different powers. Search out, discern, figure out if this is a false witness or not, figure out this is the truth. And it literally could take you a few minutes because you go and you seek out that second witness, that third witness and you figure out if it’s true. And if we’re all doing this as a church, especially those of us that know better, those of us that have the Bible, then lies die and we can be people of the truth. We can have peace. We can have purity. The scoffers are driven from our midst. We are living faithful lives in obedience to God and our cities and our cultures are blessed. Go out, lie-proof your life and be ready to go. That being said, if this is valuable to you, share it with one friend as always. Follow, give us a review.
We need some more reviews. Been a couple months since I got a written review, I’m seeing the five stars get thrown up. How about you guys, if you haven’t done it, take a second. Go out there. Write a little note to those out in the internet world that Life on Target helped you. Drop a five star review. Thanks again for listening. Have a good one.