Half-TruthsAug 16, 2023
Watch out for half-truths; they can get you into a whole lot of trouble.
“They are right to say… But I tell you…”
Are we so used to misinformation that we accept half-truths as truths? Aren’t whole causes and movements built around half-truths without looking at the whole picture? If we are not careful, we who could be the most informed generation with seemingly limitless access to information could be bereft of wisdom and truth. How could this happen—by hiding behind half-truths.
Notice this interchange between Jesus and his followers and observe the half-truth/whole lie principle.
The followers asked Jesus, “Why do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come before the Messiah comes?” Jesus answered, “They are right to say Elijah is coming, and it is true that Elijah will make all things the way they should be. But I tell you, Elijah has already come. People did not know who he was, and they treated him badly, doing whatever they wanted to do. It is the same with the Son of Man.”
I marvel today at how many leaders across many spheres take half a truce and use it to justify a whole lie. It happens in the world of business where products treat symptoms but not the cause. It happens in the world of big pharma where crucial information is buried in fine print or removed from clinical trials. It happens in so-called care for the environment where proponents of particular solutions, be they electric vehicles or gas vehicles, hide some of the facts behind half-truths or greenwash their balance sheets. It happens in the world of education where history is rewritten or whitewashed to suit a bias.
It is easy to point the finger on this one, but our own biases also enter the world of “religion” or spirituality. “God is love, so he would never…” “God is just, so he will always…” “God cares for the poor, so those with money are…” “God wants us to prosper, so those who are poor…”
We even split individual verses. In the world of faith-driven business, I find this one sadly amusing. “I have faith, so I don’t need order in the form of processes, planning, rules, stricture.” Or its counterpart, “I have order to minimize risk and (not said out loud) have less reliance on God.” Yet Colossians 2:5 says, “I delight to see how orderly you are, AND how firm your faith is.”
A similar verse addresses the power of God and the order of God. “Let all things be done decently and in order.” (1 Corinthians 14:40) The “gifts of the Spirit” crowd throw the “decently and in order” part out of the Bapti-Methodical window, while the “decent and in order” folk throw the power of God out of the Pentamatic window.
Whenever you hear something in the news, watch a YouTube video or hear a pronouncement of “truth” on something, ask yourself, “Is this all of the truth on this topic, or is it a half-truth… a lie?” Society is suffering from death by a thousand micro-lies. In the end, these micro-lies land society in a major mess. Jesus warns us, “People did not know who he was, and they treated him badly, doing whatever they wanted to do. It is the same with the Son of Man.” In the end, society will do “whatever they wanted to do” if it strays from the whole truth. Let us be alert to half-truths.
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