Check it, Then Write

We live in a hot political climate. It’s tempting to write for or against some issue or candidate. But don’t write about it until you’ve checked it.

Rumors Are Flying
Political propaganda isn’t new. In the 1800 presidential campaign, supporters of John Adams called Thomas Jefferson the son of a half-breed Indian squaw sired by a mulatto father. That wasn’t true. Supporters of Jefferson called Adams a hideous freak of nature, neither a man nor a woman. That wasn’t true either.

When Christians encounter attacks and propaganda, we don’t have to believe them— or pass them on as truth.

Whether we go on PolitiFact.com or FactCheck.org or type into our search engine a questionable statement or the name of the person making it, we can easily check the veracity of what we read or hear. If a writer doesn’t do that, he isn’t a legitimate writer; he is a propagandist.

Committed to Truth
As believers, we write the truth. A few years ago I was teaching pastors who were working on their Doctor of Ministry degrees at a conservative seminary. It was a course designed to help them expand their ministries through writing.

I brought up the subject of being ethical and honest as writers. As an example, I used the story of an editor who did not always publish the truth.

I didn’t give the name of the publication. But the students guessed it. They all read that publication—and appreciated its position. They were pleased that the editor had the gumption not to be limited by ethics. It’s as if they were implying it’s okay to lie as long as we’re lying for Jesus.

Remember what the apostle Peter said: “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty” (2 Peter 1:16 NIV).

What Peter advocated then is still true. We don’t give out cleverly invented stories, especially in a time when truth and objectivity are so sorely needed.

Check it out and write the truth.

Roger Palms, a longtime Guild mentor, is the former editor of Decision magazine and the author of 15 books and hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles.

Image credit: elenathewise / 123RF Stock Photo

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