Are you sure you got the story straight?

On Wednesday at shift change I told my relief that when I agreed to this call-in shift my wife left me. The relief’s eyes grew several sizes.

What I said was true, except that the rest of the story ends with she went to visit her Mother. Our marriage remains intact.

Surprise is the best ingredient of humour. At first the comment I made seemed anything but funny. Then the whole story emerged and my relief was relieved.

Now gossip has no comedic value whatever. Yet the character assassination tool employs the same sense of surprise to grab the listener lusting for juicy lies. If people lusted less and spent energy verifying facts instead of swallowing tales what a better place the world could be.

But that constitutes only one way half stories get used. Have you ever passed people you know who say something that startles you? Did you wait to get the whole story, or did your mind file the tidbit away as a shocking “truth”?

News outlets often give a version of an event that has been so reduced or censored that the whole picture ends up more distant than the moon. I can’t count how often people tell me about a happening and feel they have a grasp of the whole thing just because they heard it, or read it, in the news.

Okay, so that all makes my insides churn. Maybe yours, too.

The same happens with the Word of God, also.

Satan quotes the Bible

People rip a verse out of context and use it for personal advantage, rather than having that portion shock and surprise them into radical submission to the one and only authority worth following, Jesus Christ. Remember, the devil quoted the Bible to seduce Jesus into sin (Matthew 4:1-11). Bible quoters can, then, have sided with the enemies of Almighty God. Verify the context. Discern the purpose. Analyze why you feel tempted to accept a quote as the basis of action or to decide how to place your loyalty.

Then we have the ultimate display of the laziness of God’s people. I attended a meeting to discuss a controversial topic, human sexuality. Afterwards  I saw a circle of people around one individual who was quoting Scripture to support his particular opinion. I joined. Well, none of his quotes were from the Bible. He just put his opinion into Shakespearean English and confidently spouted his trash. I stopped him and said it wasn’t from the Bible. He replied it said something like that. Actually, that flew so far from accuracy I couldn’t believe all these church people swallowed it. My challenge rose again. I emphasized that no such words or ideas exist in the Bible. The crowd dissipated and the liar stood alone, finally.

Come on. Eternal matters face us. Eternal souls and their eternal state are at stake. If you can’t muster the energy to discern, test, verify in the spiritual context of obedience to the Saviour and motivated by sacrificial love, then get off the platform and put a cork in it.

Get the straight goods to get the whole story straight to stay on the straight and narrow path. That would be a story worth telling.