In Exodus 23 and 24 God continues to lay out the laws that will help provide a stable foundation for Israelite society, and there are a couple that really catch my eye.
“You must not pass along false rumors. You must not cooperate with evil people by lying on the witness stand.
2 “You must not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you are called to testify in a dispute, do not be swayed by the crowd to twist justice. 3 And do not slant your testimony in favor of a person just because that person is poor.
I really think that this can speak to us today in a powerful way, and maybe convict many of us. I have heard it said that we are living in a “post truth era”, a time when objective facts are not as impactful to people as appeals to emotion and personal beliefs. Many times these emotional appeals are used to push a political agenda or the narrative of a social movement.
Every day our society is making judgements on people, and these opinions can move at the speed of light on the internet, and it can be very easy to follow the crowd and help spread a narrative about a person, but we need to be very careful. If we are passing on unresearched false claims, or choose to ignore facts because they do not fit with the narrative of a movement that we like then we are only spreading lies.
The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth.
As followers of God we need to value the truth very highly, because God is the God of truth, and in the end it does not matter how society judges something because God is the great judge and we will be judged by God. It is important to remember that the ends do not justify the means, even if a group has a good message, if they spread it with lies and misrepresentations of events they completely undermine any impact their message would have had.
I have heard a lot of people saying things like “you have to go find the right facts”, and usually they say that because the facts do not match their opinion of how something should have gone, and they are searching for somebody who will confirm their feelings. This is called confirmation bias when we look for information and interpret facts to all agree with what we already think. Fundamentally this mindset assumes that we are right about everything and do not need to learn anything new. We need to be humble and realize that we can easily be wrong about things and look forward to searching out the truth. As a person who loves knowledge and being right I can tell you that it is not easy to learn that you are wrong about something, but I have had many mentors in my life that have told me many thousands of times that I am wrong about things, but at this point I am ok with that, because accepting that you are wrong is the first step to learning new things and growing.
In Exodus and Mark we have seen God at work in a mighty way to change his people from the broken people they used to be into his followers. Moses brought them out of Egypt where they turned from God and worshiped the gods of Egypt, and gave them the law of God that would define their society and customs around a worship of God alone. Jesus broke the Israelites out of their wooden and heartless following of the laws of Moses and taught them to change their hearts and love the way God loves. We need that message just as much today since we live in a very broken world, and lots of people are pointing out those issues and trying to tackle them, but these social movements will not bring ultimate peace, they may improve some things, but they can also be deeply flawed and do not have an emphasis on truth that God values and we should value as well.
If we wish to remain in a peaceful and stable society, then we need to put truth first and be quick to listen and slow to judge. We need to learn to see people the way God sees them and humbly submit ourselves to his judgement and not worry about how the world will judge us.
Thank you for reading along with me this week. I hope that these scriptures spoke to you and I hope you will stick around for the rest of the year in this series, because if you do there is a ton you can learn.