Each morning I receive an email from the New York Times that gives me brief headlines across several categories. In this election year, and maybe because of the candidates involved, it seems there is a distinct increase “fact-checking” the speeches. While it is not new, it seems to be done with more frequency these days.
There are several websites that devote resources to just this concept. Here are 2.
In addition, the major networks and national papers have their own version of fact checking those in major public view.
For those urban myths and Facebook “just so you know” items there is www.snopes.com.
In Christian circles and, mostly, churches we must not throw caution to the wind and run on assumptions and guesses. We have too much at stake with the Gospel to not be accurate. In John 7, Jesus is speaking to the crowds. Some thought he was the One they had been expecting; longing for in their hearts.
Then it happened. They didn’t fact-check.
An argument arose that Jesus could not be the Messiah because it was “clearly stated” that Jesus would be of the royal line of David and born in Bethlehem. So the crowd was divided about Him. Some even wanted Jesus arrested now.
Here’s the problem: THEY DID NOT FACT CHECK.
Jesus’ mother was of the line of David, and so was Joseph. Though we know Joseph was not the biological father, the crowds did not know this intimate detail. BOTH parents fulfilled the prophecy. Further, He was born in Bethlehem, though the family did not remain in that town. Also, it was stated by the religious leaders that no prophet ever comes from Galilee. That is not true. Jonah was from Galilee.
If the people had just fact-checked their lives could have been radically changed!
For the Christian, we must be cautious in our judgments. Too often we judge based on
- “I feel” – How we feel about the matter/person
- “I heard” – What someone has said
- “They said” – One moment out of context
- “I don’t like them” – Personality differences
Before raising an argument or making accusations in church, in culture, or in the comfort of your home be sure to check your facts. We cannot take the chance of messing this up!