There is a saying that I have heard since I was young and it goes something like this:
Never let an untruth go unchallenged.
In other words, when someone is propagating false information, don’t just stand by and ignore it. Speak up and let people hear the truth!
On one hand, I agree. I do believe it is important to speak the truth in whatever situation we are find ourselves, even if it isn’t the most pleasant task. We should never be ashamed of the truth to the point of keeping silent because of potential ridicule.
Some time ago I saw a comment conversation on Facebook. The topic was one with which I am very familiar and hold strong opinions, and my first reaction was the urge to speak the truth. I wanted to absolutely obliterate the ridiculous nonsense that this person was spouting! Because, it was nonsense! Worse than nonsense: it wasn’t true. Sometimes people can have varying opinions on issues and both can be right … in this situation, she was dead wrong!
If you have spent any time on the Internet, especially on Facebook, I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about. Sometimes people just say the stupidest things, or believe the most ridiculous nonsense, and it’s our moral responsibility to set them straight.
Well … maybe not right. You see, there’s another saying that I’ve heard ever since I was young and it goes like this:
You know that person that was spouting untruthful nonsense? I could have fired back with some facts (lots of facts!) and proved her wrong. Do you think it would have made any difference? Not a bit! She wasn’t open to hearing/considering something different than her opinions and she doesn’t have any reason to respect what I have to say.
Maybe there is someone in her life whom she respects and who has the open door to share truth with her, and maybe she would be willing to listen to them. But that person isn’t me. She doesn’t know me from Adam and any time I spend in an effort to enlighten her would be wasted.
Now let me make a disclaimer (you knew that was coming, didn’t you!):
There are times when the Heavenly Father would have us speak up and it may not seem as though anyone is listening. It may seem like an utter waste of time and energy and yet He has a purpose and plan that we cannot yet see.
I remember hearing the story about a missionary in Africa who was walking the jungle and came upon a troop of monkeys. He heard the Father tell him to start preaching to the monkeys. He felt a little funny about it, but obeyed. After he had preached the Gospel message, he heard the Father tell him to give an altar call. He started to argue then … an altar call … for monkeys??? But he obeyed and when he did, a number of women came out from behind the bushes where the monkeys were. They had hidden themselves when they saw him approaching and he had no idea that he was actually preaching to them, and not the chattering monkeys!
So yes, there are times when we do need to challenge an untruth or a wrong action and, while it may appear that our actions do not bear any fruit, the Father is working behind the scenes in ways we can’t even imagine! But here is my exhortation: make sure it is the Father speaking through you and directing your words.
If you spend your time trying to correct every error you see on the Internet, you are going to wear yourself out! And chances are, you’re going to become disillusioned and bitter because you can’t make people see the truth. You’re going to be casting your pearls before swine only to have them trampled and then they will turn to attack you (Matthew 7:6).
There’s an awful lot of arguing going on. People express their opinions (and sometimes they’re really dumb ones, no doubt about it!) and everyone else feels the need to prove them wrong and set them straight. Let me ask you something: how often does it work?
How often have you seen someone post something crazy on Facebook … and someone corrects them … and the person says, “Oh wow! I was wrong! Sorry about that, let me correct myself!”
It does happen but I daresay it is way out of proportion to the amount of “setting straight” attempts!
Think about pearls for a minute. They are special. They are beautiful. They are expensive. No one in her right mind would toss pearls into the pigpen to keep the swine busy. I can hear it now … “I was just trying to help them to feel beautiful!”
Our knowledge can be like pearls, in fact, Proverbs 20:15 says, “But the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.” Truth, wisdom, understanding … all of these are a special treasure for which we should be thankful. But keep in mind, you don’t share your treasures with everyone. Only with some.
The next time you see one of those glaring errors cross your screen, I encourage you to prayerfully consider – do I speak up? Or would I simply be casting my pearls before the swine?