If there is one lesson we should have learned over the past four years it is be careful how quickly you come to a conclusion on a subject you know nothing about. Don’t believe everything you hear the first time you hear it. My uncle tells me that there's a saying in the military intelligence community... "the first report is always wrong." Why can’t we seem to learn this lesson? What happen to the Russia investigation; that undeniable evidence? Where did the murder hornets go? What happened to all those respirators? Has Subway stopped serving sandwiches in Chicago at 2AM? How are all those gay people that were turned away by Samaritan’s Purse in New York during the COVID crisis?
The definition of sensationalism (especially in journalism) is, “the use of exciting or shocking stories or language at the expense of accuracy, in order to provoke public interest or excitement.” It is sad to learn that news stories become sensationalized for the simple fact that ratings and readership will rise if people find the story interesting. Although an event is determined to be newsworthy, the media today have taken it upon themselves to turn an ordinary story about an important event into something that is supposed to be met with outrage. Think about how many times you have heard the term “bombshell” in the last 3 years and there turned out to be no bombshell.
Last week the news media pounced on the story that NASCAR had discovered a noose hanging in the garage of the only black driver in the series. The FBI sent 15 agents in to investigate. NASCAR promised a ban for life for the individual responsible. They promised hate crime charges will be added on to the perpetrator. The prerace ceremony included the entire field recognizing the lone black driver for the horrible offense he had endured. He did interviews, made statements on the subject, decorated his car with signs of the political movement. His team, NASCAR and the media followed without question. In the end it was discovered that the “noose” was nothing more than rope used to pull the garage doors down and that it had been there for several months. It was not intended for nor targeted at the driver or his team. It was also discovered that the driver had not seen the item nor was it he that reported the offense. When questioned about the potential damage the situation had caused and that some had questioned his future credibility due to overreaction to something he did not even witness, the driver pushed back in anger. How dare people question him, he charged! It was almost as if he was more disappointed that people had questions about the rush to judgment than he was relieved that the story was not true.
Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” In other words, you can choose to build or destroy your dreams, bring joy or despair or bless or curse a thing, just with the power of your words. In the end it is true, “you are what you eat.” We have to be so careful of the words we speak, especially in tense times. Sometimes we say negative things without even realizing it because we jump to conclusions about something before we have all the facts. All that comes out of it is a sabotaging of our good name and future for those within our influence. Words have meaning and the source of the words elevate the power of them. When the validity of the source of information comes into question the power the words have deadens. You can kill your witness in a sentence. Today, choose your words wisely and gain information before you repeat a story. Make sure you have all the facts before you pass judgment or before you pass along the story.
There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that run swiftly to evil, a false witness who gives false testimony, and one who stirs up discord among brothers. Proverbs 6:16-19
Serving the Savior
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