Truth, Lies, & Twitter - The Conclusion
33 Then Pilate went back into the headquarters, summoned Jesus, and said to him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Are you asking this on your own, or have others told you about me?” 35 “I’m not a Jew, am I?” Pilate replied. “Your nation and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?” 36 “My kingdom is not of this world,” said Jesus. “If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight, so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” 37 “You are a king then?” Pilate asked. “You say that I’m a king,” Jesus replied. “I was born for this, and I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 38 “What is truth?” said Pilate. (John 18:33-38)
We’ve explored the words Truth, Lie, and Repentance this week. Now we get to why we are taking time out during Holy Week to address these terms. I mentioned in the first blog, the history of Pilates question, as well as the state of the culture today. We also talked about the trends seen on Christian Twitter and that these three words continue to show up everywhere.
Too often I am seeing Christians on Twitter intensely calling other believers’ opinions on vaccines, racism, politics, methodology, and even sermon structures, as lies in need of repentance. This is why I am saying in this series that we must have a real understanding of what lies are. If someone is guilty of lying - intentionally leading people away from Truth - then repentance is exactly what is needed. But having a different opinion on something is not a lie, but a different understanding of how the Truth affects the world around us. This doesn’t mean someone is twisting the truth, but that they are looking at it from a different perspective. Things can not be true, without being an outright lie. Misunderstandings happen all the time and they should be treated as such. Misinformation in today’s world is an expected reality, but those that fall victim to that information are not the liars, but the ones creating it are.
We need to keep this in mind when interacting with other believers. If you are going to accuse another believer of being a liar or a deceiver, you need to be sure that they are indeed Intentionally trying to pull people away from the truth. People make mistakes, and if someone is mistaken or misspeaks, it doesn't make them a liar in need of repentance. It makes them human. Furthermore, just because you don't like something they say, doesn't make it untrue. If you want to call someone to repentance, make sure you know what you are calling them to, and why you are calling them to it. Repentance is a serious matter between wronged parties, and just because you are offended about what someone says, does not mean that they have offended God.
This is the irony in many of the people I see using these terms, they are convinced that they need to protect the church from a postmodernist woke lies of the enemy, yet they have decided that they and only they can define what truth is, that only they are the ones able to defend that truth and that they are responsible for bringing people to repentance. What Scripture tells us, however, is that Truth is defined and defended by God alone and that His Spirit is the one that convicts. What is being shown in the actions of these believers, is the very thing that they are trying to protect against, postmodern and postpostmodern thinking.
The reality is that Truth is not a weapon. Paul in Ephesians 6, lists Truth as a belt and not a weapon. It is the thing that holds the armor together, and it holds the Sword of the Spirt. In John 17, Jesus prays that we as believers would be held together through the Truth of God, not be divided by it. Truth is what holds us together. This is the message we need to be showing to the world around us that cannot trust politicians, education, or media outlets. We know where Truth can be found, and we know what it looks like. However, the messages coming out of the church are focused more on calling things lies, and seeking false repentance of shame.
Out of the three words we looked at this week, Alétheia (Truth) can be found in the New Testament 109 times, Pseudos (Lies) shows up 10 times, and metanoeó (repent) shows up only 34 times. TRUTH is mentioned 11 times more than lies and 3 times more than repentance in Scripture, yet the focus of our attention online seems to be directed at the other two. God cares more about the TRUTH than he does about the lies made to distract people from it. We have to get back to this way of thinking and present a united Church around the TRUTH of who Christ is, rather than the political opinions of those who talk the loudest.