“If a ruler listens to falsehood, all his officials will be wicked.” Prov 29:12
And expanded and more modern context may be:
“If a leader buys into biased, inaccurate or exaggerated information, their followers will be misinformed, causing them and others to stumble.”
Spreading falsehood is a big problem in our world. But possibly a bigger problem is when we believe it. We do not have to believe falsehood. We can anchor ourselves to truth.
We all very in our level of maturity and intuitiveness when it comes to our vulnerability to be convinced of something that is not true. Some are very naive, and some have very well-developed B.S. filters. I encourage you to humbly consider where you might stand on this spectrum.
“Spreading falsehood is a big problem in our world. But possibly a bigger problem is when we believe it”
Wired to be fooled:
We want so badly to believe the things that line up with how we are wired, or what we have experienced. We tend to ignore information that does not line up with our preconceived notions. In short, we want to believe lies that seem to benefit us. It’s part of our sinful nature.
We have seen small groups, big groups, organizations, churches, countries and civilizations become duped by false information and bad ideas. Ideas have consequences.
Our blind spots keep us from discerning perception from reality. Perception is not always reality. Only when you see the actual truth.
There are a couple of natural laws I wish to discuss:
1. The Law of Overcompensation.
This law says basically, when we don’t see the truth of the matter as it really is and allow ourselves to believe an embellished, exaggerated or emotionally charged version of it, the output will be at least as wrong as the input. This causes the problem to continue, and oftentimes to become exacerbated.
Some examples of this in our society are:
- Fight or Flight,
- Heroes and Villains
- Any form of stereotypes
- Dramatizing for effect
- Always and Never
- Emotional manipulation
- Narcissistic mentality
- Victim mentality
- Just follow your heart
- Justice at all cost
- Compassion at all cost
- Racial prejudice (don’t hate me)
2. The Law of Opposing Forces (also Newton’s 3rd)
Like a pendulum that swings back and forth, this law says that opposing forces will always provide resistance leading back towards the norm, or middle ground(true center). One action tends to counter or compensate for another.
Some examples of this in our culture are:
- The law of probabilities,
- The law of supply and demand,
- Checks and balances,
- Liberal vs. Conservative
- Justice vs. Compassion
- The devil’s advocate
- An eye for an eye
- The plight of the underdog
- Truth and consequences
- Cause and effect
- Sowing and reaping
- And of course, Bumper bowling
The first law pushes perception away from centralized truth, like a pendulum being pushed further away from dead center. The second law moves to correct the imbalance.
We Think More is Better:
Unfortunately, many people use the first law to overcompensate for someone’s grenade, by throwing two back at them. Somehow, we think we are going to stop the pendulum from swinging with our extreme or exaggerated counterbalance. That is not how it works. It perpetuates the problem.
I can just see a small child in a swing being pushed from both sides. Parents competing to push harder. How will it ever come to a halt?
I believe that the Bible has a different perspective. Rather than addressing one untruth with a countering untruth, we need to seek Truth in two ways. Biblical truth as well as reality, the way things really are apart from your perception.
- Not an untruth that we can use for a personal gain.
- Not an untruth that will justify our actions.
- Not an untruth that will make us feel better.
- Not an untruth that will exonerate us.
- Not an untruth that will remove our guilt.
- Not an untruth that will give us an appearance of righteousness.
- Not an untruth that will validate or affirm us.
- Not an untruth that will validate or affirm other people. Not any untruth.
Sometimes our sinful nature can drive us to do things that we feel are so right and necessary. Emotions can be the biggest deceiver especially when we just follow our heart. Our emotions can tell us what is right is wrong, and what is wrong is right. Emotions can be anchored to truth, but also can be anchored to sin. It is up to you.
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
As Americans and especially believers in Jesus Christ, we need to be seekers of the truth. We need to be able to look at the details and unbiased facts of the situation the best that we can. We need to be willing to recognize and remove our blind spots that keep us from being aware of the bigger picture.
My challenge is to all church leaders out there. People are watching you and trusting that you are opinion is more accurate and trustworthy than their own.
Seek justice, seek compassion, but more than anything, seek truth. Be anchored in the Word that is truth.