Wednesday, October 21, 2020
There is one more point of emphasis about misinformation that needs to be made. Misinformation is lying. Manipulation is lying. The end never justifies the means when the means are sinful. The end is never justifiable if it too is sinful.
All of the above are illustrated in the way the religious leaders spoke about Jesus.
John 7:45-52 The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him?” The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!” The Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” They replied, “Are you from Galilee too? Search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”
- They took the truth of Scripture, presented by the common people, that the Christ must come from Bethlehem, and they made it into a lie that no prophet can ever come out of Galilee. They saw an opportunity to use truth as the basis for a lie, hoping to accomplish a pre-determined goal – the rejection of Jesus Christ. How often do we embellish the truth (lie) to accomplish a pre-determined goal? Do we declare the fish was bigger than it actually was because we believe we will earn the affirmation we seek as a good fisherman?
- They lied about whether or not any of the religious leaders had believed in Jesus. Whether they knew about the belief of Nicodemus or not is irrelevant. They proclaimed misinformation when they could have verified the facts.
- They lied about the status of the crowd and about their own status. They declared the crowd to be worthy of judgment because they didn’t know the law. That was not true. They had already demonstrated that they knew enough of the law to declare that Jesus could be the Prophet, the Messiah, and that the Christ would come from Bethlehem. But the religious leaders had already determined that they alone could know the law well enough to interpret it correctly, so in order to maintain their status that had to demean everyone else. They lid about their own spiritual status, and to protect that lie they lied about the status of others.
- They lied about the need to uphold all the law. They chose to ignore the sections of the law suggested by Nicodemus, because it didn’t serve their purpose.
It would do us all well to consider whether lying has gained a foothold in our lives. I think the place to start is by evaluating whether anything we say is designed to benefit us or honor God. If we are motivated by personal benefit, we will probably lie.