Posted by: Don Linnen | 28 February 2017

Cherry Tree

I cannot tell a lie. My first lesson on honesty was that George Washington admitted to cutting down a cherry tree. My next lesson by age 10 was that “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” By the time I was 20 it was that “figures don’t lie, but liars figure.”

Times were simple then, but cynicism grew as I aged. Later lessons proved that the George Washington / cherry tree story was a myth and that words really can hurt.

Prevarication was a joke to Gary Larson. Search as I might, I cannot find his Far Side cartoon of a guy standing in an empty auditorium under a sign that reads: “Prevaricators Anonymous – Meeting Today.”

Wait for it.

Don’t wait too long.  Relative truth, alternative facts, post truth, fake news, post lies, and truthiness are sad distortions of today. But it’s not a new phenomenon. Mark Twain said: “Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.”

More information doesn’t mean better information. It may just lead to more confusion. Discernment about the author and their motive is critical. Is it to make money? Gain power? Push an agenda? Feed pride? Prove they are right and have been right all along?

But it’s best that discernment not always be about others. Living in an echo chamber can be harmful to your health.

It’s a new year. That means you get to read more from my devotional for 2017. From Quiet Moments with God, on the 18th of January Ogilvie taught me to pray:

Dear God, help me to communicate my convictions without censure of those who might not fully agree with me. Free me from any false assumptions that I might have a corner on all truth.

May I restrain from adopting the spirit of judgement so prevalent in our society. Forgive me when I presume Your authority by setting myself up as a judge of the worth of those who disagree with me.

At the same time, Lord, I know You have not called me to indulgence when it comes to seeking truth. Nor do You encourage me to buy into the mindset of appeasement and tolerance, where everything is relative and there are no absolutes.

Seeking truth is not difficult for me. I’m naturally curious. But thinking I’m getting a corner on it or judging those who disagree with me…I have some work to do.

Lord, help me. Even my first sentence was a lie.

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