Have we become expert spinners? We can spin one complex, intelligent (and convoluted), high-stakes web or several seemingly innocent, inconsequential strands that we hold onto (or that hold onto us) for next time. Our needles are actively at work, sometimes without us even realizing it.
What are we spinning?
Webs of lies.
In the message this morning, Pastor Chuck referenced a few anonymous surveys that provide eye-opening research on what people really think, which exposed that lying is an ongoing habit in our lives. Think about this: How would you answer questions that probe into your real beliefs about God, people, money, etc., if you knew no one would associate your answers with you?
Now, there are outright LIES that are crafted and planned to cause harm and deception, and there are the ones that seem to creep up on us. I think these are the ones that can be the most insidious (i.e. causing harm in a way that is gradual or not easily noticed.). These are the lies that get us out of a sticky situation we haven't had a chance to think through or "protect" someone's feelings or the ones that speak volumes when we do not say a word when we should.
The remedy? William Barclay put it well when he said, "Telling the truth demands a deliberate effort." Chuck recommended the following suggestions and related questions. These will keep you thinking...
1. BEFORE (think ahead):
- Is what I'm about to say the truth?
- Should I speak or remain silent?
- Do I feel under pressure in this gathering?
- Is this confidential information?
- Am I about to cheat? (when you cheat, you lie to yourself)
2. DURING (ask yourself):
- Am I saying this correctly with the right facts?
- Should I be giving someone else credit for this?
- Am I exaggerating?
- Am I holding back something that should be said? (don't let your silence lead others to believe you agree with what is being said if you don't)
3. AFTER (consider this):
- Do I regret what I just said? (asking this question with an open heart gives the Holy Spirit freedom to work)
- Should I get back in touch to tell them I was wrong?
- How could I have said what I said in a better way?
- Was I trying to hide something when I said that?
These questions are convicting in general, as I consider my own speech, and specifically when I think about certain situations I have experienced. Let's all be proactive as we monitor our speech and work to keep each other accountable, as well as offer grace when we fall short.