This series of articles is intended to help the Christian wade through some of the biblical ethics for talking about politics God’s way. Many people, Christians included, merely think about politics, and not how we should speak or not speak concerning them. I hope that many Christians will take part in making the commitment to discuss political views God’s way. You can read the first two parts. In this final post in the series I am going to talk about several sub points to the larger subject of speaking the truth.
We need to make sure that we are not lying. This seems pretty obvious. Let’s be honest (no pun intended), we have all shared a story that we later found out not to be true, or the truth was twisted. I have been guilty of it. We, with good intentions, see something which fits what we believe, only to find out that the story is fake. It is imperative that we as Christians make sure that we are telling the truth for several reasons.
First, God is a God of truth. Jesus is “The Truth” as He proclaims in John 14:6. We as Christians who attempt to imitate Christ must speak truth. This means that we need to speak truth about our political party or politician, and about those of the opposing side. Honesty is of the utmost importance.
If we do not speak the truth, we are breaking one of the Ten Commandments. Exodus 20:16 says that we are not supposed to “bear false witness.” Moses is speaking in legal terms in his constitutional proposition. When we are lying, we are a false witness against someone defending the truth of a matter.
Speaking the truth concerning politics is key. If we do not, people will assume we are lying about other things. If we are lying about someone’s political party or politician and are attempting to share the Gospel with an unbeliever, they may make the assumption that we are not telling the truth about Jesus. Even if the politician we are trying to expose is evil, it is not worth our testimony to lie about what that person has said or done. We must keep our credibility as Christians.
This means that before we share things, we should do our best to make sure that what we are sharing is true. There is a lot of false narrative on every side of the political aisle attempting to take down opposing views.
You may say, “Well, how in the world do I keep up with making sure everything I am sharing is true?” Great question. Let me point you back to some of the principles we have already laid out in this series. First, remember that we should be slow to speak. If James was writing to us today he would say, “Be slow to ‘like’ or ‘share.’” Second, remember that we are supposed to be sharing King Jesus first and foremost. If you don’t have time to fact-check everything you share on social media or verbally with others, there is a good chance you are spending too much time talking politics, and not enough time talking about Jesus.
Something I often do if I want to share something, and I’m not sure if it is true or not, I ask a friend who supports that candidate or party. There are times they point out how what I think is true is a blatant lie. Other times they confirm what I want to share is true, even though they disagree with whether or not what I am saying is against their values. This often keeps me in check.
Lastly there is forgiveness for sharing false stories. We should not use this as an excuse to share blatant lies or not fact-check. The apostle Paul addresses this in Romans 6:1. He says, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?” That being said, as I said earlier, we have all mistakenly shared fake news. If we confess that, repent, remove it, there is forgiveness for sharing these lies. I may even suggest writing something like, “Earlier today I shared the story x and later found out it was a lie. I apologize for sharing something that was not true.”
How serious do you take what you share on social media in regards to politics? What other ramifications to your reputation and the Gospel are there for sharing fake news?
Thanks for taking time to read this Maddening Theology post. If you enjoyed this content you can find Pastor Tim’s sermons at www.cornerstoneforestcity.org. You can also join us at 520 Marion St. Browndale, PA 18421 on Sundays at 10 AM. To make following the blog easier you can also register. You can also join us on Facebook at Cornerstone Forest City. Also, don’t forget to download our APP on iTunes or Googleplay.