On our After Eight slot for Bearwood Chapel we were talking about the bit where Jesus says to take out the log in your own eye before attempting to remove your brother’s speck the other day. I asked Sarah, in the context of this, what she thought was our primary responsibility in a dispute. She responded that the first priority needed to be an accurate reporting of facts.
That is so important. All too often, we are far to quick to rush into a situation, apportion blame onto others or even accept blame ourselves before we have actually identified what the truth is. So, this is one of the reasons why we need the clear sight that comes when we have removed any hindrances to our own vision.
It means that we have to have a clear view of the following
- The circumstances/environment/culture
- Our own actions and words
- The words and actions of others.
Then with the help of the Holy Spirit and the conviction of God’s Word, I believe we need a clear insight into our own motives and desires in the situation.
If we are to see accurately, then we also need to report accurately so that everyone can agree on what the core facts are. You will have seen an example of how this becomes an issue in my last article which talked about how people in an argument can misrepresent those they are debating with.
There are I believe three ways to do that
- By claiming that they said something which they did not by changing their words, adding to their words or reporting speech indirectly with hyperbole.
- By failing to report what they said. This includes selectively quoting from them and using things they said out of context.
- By making assumptions about their motives for what they said or did without evidence or in direct contradiction to their own stated intentions.
Such behaviour is deeply damaging. It’s the kind of thing we associate with politics. It really has no place in the church.