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Monday, November 8, 2010

You Wouldn't Lie to Me, Would You?

by Niki Turner

Do you remember the first time you told a lie? What about the first time you got caught in a lie? For the saved and unsaved alike, being branded a liar is not to be desired.

The Bible is abundantly clear on the subject of lying, deception, and falsehood. Simply put, lying is never OK—not "little white lies," or big blue lies, or any other shade of deception. Christians, followers of Christ, are to "speak the truth in love."
"Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator." Col 3:9-10 NIV
"Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body." Eph 4:25 KJV

But some of us are lying, and we don't even know it. ((shudder))

Through ignorance and laziness, we spread slander and gossip and malicious deception that generates fear and hatred and abuse. Ouch.

Have you ever gotten an e-mail from a trusted friend or family member that stirred up your righteous anger, or compassionate concern? Perhaps it was something from your chosen political party about the "other" side, or a frightening report about the dangers of a common household product, or a sad story about someone with a terminal illness whose last request in this life is to receive postcards from around the globe.

Maybe it wasn't sad. Maybe the e-mail was a beautiful reminder of how loved or beautiful you are simply because you are a child of God. And tucked away at the bottom was a little note that you have to send that message to at least ten of your nearest and dearest relatives in order to receive a blessing. Or a friendly request to leave your name at the end of an e-mail petition, with all participants promised to earn a check from a major manufacturer.

To this day I can't put on lipstick without wondering how much lead I'm consuming. I hesitate at the gas pump when it's 20 below zero, weighing the pros and cons of igniting fuel vapors by getting back in the car or having a frostbitten nose. I can't remember which number is supposed to appear on my plastic water container to ensure my health. Anything regarding the microwave is suspect, from heating water to using plastic wrap.

Shall we boycott e-mail? After all, the government is going to put a 5¢ charge on every e-mail soon! (Not true, by the way.) Or shall we follow the instructions of our Lord, who knew all about the kind of world in which we live?
"I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." Matt 10:16 NIV
If anyone should be responsible, noble, and honest enough to seek out truth it should be Christians. So before you hit the "forward" button on that next e-mail, take a few minutes to check your facts, lest you be found inadvertently guilty of passing on a lie.

Snopes is a popular, and thorough, resource for validating many of the more common rumors, myths, and urban legends. FactCheck is a non-partisan site for political mumbo-jumbo that comes your way. TruthOrFiction has an index of information about everything from calls to action to the latest virus warning. You might be surprised at what's true, and what isn't.

And if something is just funny, or a really sweet story, or a reminder for your friends how much you love them, go ahead and send it. But be a good friend and let them know that what you are sharing is a fictional tale, a parable of sorts, and that they won't get $10 for sending it on, or suffer vile consequences for keeping it to themselves.

Now, forward this post to everyone you know and the wise turtle of great fortune will land on your head within 24 hours and...


14 comments:

  1. I have learned to use Snopes, and even then I don't pass on many of those email stories anymore.

    I think we all learned the lessons that come from lying when we were children. Sometimes we just learn to be better liars, sometimes we 'just don't tell the whole truth'.

    Thanks Niki! Have a great week.
    (Is everyone else completely messed up with this clock thing? I woke up at 3:30, even after trying to stay up late!)

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  2. Great subject, Niki, and I especially love the ending.

    I decided some time ago that I just don't do forward emails, and I rarely even open them.

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  3. Deb, my body clock appears to be undergoing some sort of transition. I haven't slept well in weeks. It's frustrating!

    When I first had Internet access, I remember reading every email that came my way, and sending most of them on to friends and family. Come to find out, some of my favorite "stories" were just that... stories. Now my most common forward is the link to the Snopes page!

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  4. Dina,
    For your kindness, I'm sending the turtle to you early. : )

    Forward emails and junk mail are the bane of modern time management.

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  5. I couldn't even "lie" to Matthew when it came to Santa Claus. Last Christmas was the first time he was really paying attention and he asked me one day if Santa was going to come to our house. I couldn't even pretend for a second Santa was coming. I told him it was just a story.
    For the rest of the season when well meaning, spirit of Christmas spreading adults asked Matthew if he was excited for Santa to come, he very authoritatively announced Santa wasn't real.

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  6. Wait a minute, Heather. What are you saying? I guess I'd better check that story out on Scopes.com!

    Niki, hope you get your clock 'set' internally. I welcome the chance to get up early to write but NOT before 4 thank you very much!

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  7. Great post, Niki! Thank you!!! I have come to rely on Snopes from time to time, and it's important that we all think before we hit "forward."

    Deb, I am just like you! I've been up since 4. Couldn't help it. Same thing yesterday, too. I haven't been sleeping well, either, Niki, so I guess when I'm up tonight I need to pray for you ladies. God can work out the time zone issues.

    Thanks Niki!

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  8. Several years ago I got tired of all the forwards I was getting from well-meaning family members so I adopted my policy of automatically deleting any e-mail that had FWD in the subject line.

    Eventually family figured this out so they added PLEASE READ THIS or THIS IS GOOD to the subject line.

    Still I continued deleting.

    And they continued being offended that I wasn't reading these important e-mails.

    Besides them being time wasters, if I read them, I wouldn't let my kids play in the ball pits at McDonald's (there are razor blades in there) or use recycled bags (bacteria growing in them so you must wash after each use) or _____fill in blank here of whatever random tragedy that could occur____.

    E-mails like these feed FEAR.

    I've tried explaining this to my family members. I've even sent links to snopes or some other urban legend site. Still the forwards continue to arrive.

    What's hilarious is I'll get one from one person, then the next day or so from another person, then the next day or so from another person. ALL WITH 80 BAJILLION e-mail addresses attached. *sigh*

    Thanks for sharing, Niki!

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  9. Goodness, I don't even check phone messages! But that's not the point is it?

    Thanks, Niki, for holding up the mirror of truth so I could take a look. I'm not always thrilled with what looks back!

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  10. Heather, I know exactly what you mean... sometimes they reveal their newfound knowledge in the most inappropriate times and places!

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  11. Deb & Susie,
    Great idea! I have this sinking feeling that if I tell my body "YOU WILL PRAY WHEN YOU WAKE UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT" it will decide it wants to sleep more than it wants to pray. Hmm.
    Sleep well tonight, girls!

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  12. Oh gosh, Gina, I think YOUR e-mail contact list and my e-mail contact list should get together.
    When I run across the ones that really, really irritate me, I hit "reply all" and send EVERYONE the Snopes or FactCheck link. After the first few times of being nice and just telling the sender, and then getting something again the next day, I decided nice wasn't cutting it.
    That policy has dramatically reduced the number of forwards I receive!

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  13. LOL. Cheryl, I don't check my phone messages either!

    Gotta love the mirror of the Word... it's the only way we know where we need to make some adjustments!

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  14. Oh goody, I'm not the only one to delete forwarded emails! I've told my family this and I don't get as many, but yes, they still come.

    I think what happens is that when it arrives, if you're curious, you'll look. And once you look, you feel compelled to pass it on because really, just because you don't need the valuable information, the next person might. And who can you send it to but people on your email list.

    Yes, I've felt guilty for not looking, never mind not passing them on, but the last straw was when I got all worried about an amber alert and was about to send it out to EVERYONE... until I checked the validity of the email and found it'd been circulating for 8 yrs! Not only that, it had been a joke to begin with!!!

    So thank you, Niki. Excellent links to help weed out the trash.

    Anita.

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