Great Plains Daily Devotional for 2/1/2021

Today please be in prayer for

Bryce Hansen
Hesston UMC
Hutchinson District
Ben Hanne
Hillsboro UMC
Hutchinson District
Larry Brock
Hutchinson Faith UMC
Nickerson UMC
Hutchinson District
Mic McGuire
Hutchinson First UMC
Hutchinson District

Today's Lectionary Text

Psalm 25:5

Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
    for you are the God of my salvation;
    for you I wait all day long.

Today's Devotional

I think its important as Christians that we share our struggles with each other.  This week (and in many previous weeks) my struggle has been with what we consider truth.  In the NRSV translation of the bible truth is mentioned 181 times.  That tells me that its important. 

Let me tell you how it started this week.  I saw a post on Facebook from someone dear to me.  Yes, it was political in nature, and you would think at this point I would be very good at just scrolling by.  Later, in a podcast I listen to this same email was referenced, broken down, policies it mentioned were explained in whole without spin and were shown to be misleading at best.  I had a decision to make.  I could respond to the post with this point by point information or just go on by.  I’m not confrontational in nature and I had to ask myself if this would make my relationship better by responding.  Ultimately, I’ve decided it would not.  I also didn’t want to subject myself to the possibly replies by others and the vitriol that can occur. 

As a student in communications in the early 2000’s my professors weren’t concerned with what truth and fact was in journalism, other than it was black and white.  You researched and you published facts.  Opinions were left to the editorial pages.  After I graduated came the cable news onslaught and today, we find ourselves in a world of my news and your news, your facts and my facts, and the recently coiled alternate facts.  We can all find a news source that fits our ideological view and facts that support our opinions. 

Social media only magnifies this issue.  We follow those who we agree with, we like and share memes that state ideas that we share the opinion of the poster.  Rarely do we research the information.  It’s easy to like and share at the click of a button to tell someone we agree and approve of that opinion even if the information we use is incorrect or misleading. 

So where does that leave us with truth?  I’m getting better and researching some of these claims, but even if I rebut with an alternate view am I using biased sources to support my claim? Is there a slant of the author of the information that I am unaware of? It’s complicated isn’t it.

I think for now I’ll lean into the Truth I find in the bible.  Yes, I know this is complicated too. (Isn’t everything these days?) Translations differ in word choices, even back to when the books of the bible were chosen.  Historical context, motivations of committees, even writers of the books all play a part. 

In the Psalms I found comfort.  It tells me where to find the ultimate source of truth.  If I use this verse as a guide, in both my social media interactions and my real-life interactions, maybe, just maybe I can find a path through this wilderness.  I can also use the questions that are posted everywhere in my daughter’s school that are good guides for my interactions:

THINK before you speak (or post, or like, or share)
T is it true?
H is it helpful?
I is it inspiring?
N is it necessary?
K is it kind?

It comes from a quote from Bernard Meltzer.  The full quote is, “Before you speak ask yourself what you are going to say is true, is kind, is necessary, is helpful.  If the answer is no, maybe what you are about to say should be left unsaid.” He likely was inspired by Socrates, the Buddhist tradition, or even the Rotary.  (See what I did there, researching where the information came from.)

Instead of quitting social media, which I did consider, I think I’ll run my interactions through a few tests before I like, share, etc. Can I find a verifiable, unbiased source? Does this really help anyone? Is it necessary to the world that I put it out there? Is it kind? 

I’ll add an extra test for myself.  If a loved one disagrees with this can we have an honest conversation about it where we come out of that conversation with a better understanding of how we both think or feel about the subject.  If I don’t think the post will spark that kind of discussion, it probably isn’t worth putting it out there in the world. 
-Lisa Soukup
Communications administrative assistant
lsoukup@greatplainsumc.org

Prayer for Reflection

Heavenly Father, we struggle with what is truth, what is fact, and how exactly we find both of those things.  We know in you we can trust, in you we can rely and that your truth is the ultimate truth.  Help us to be discerning and ultimately kind to one another in our differences.  

 

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