Sharing Truth

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It’s pretty easy to understand that sharing truth is about giving others the opportunity to benefit from what you have learned. When something helps you, you naturally want to share it with family and friends so it can help them, too.

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We do this all the time. Quickly scanning down my Facebook news feed just now, I see:

 

  • advice on shopping for age-appropriate clothing
  • a devotional message on dealing with loneliness
  • a reprimand of a politician for his criticism of the Pope’s alleged lack of scientific knowledge
  • an announcement about an upcoming art show
  • a family’s announcement of their moving sale
  • a photographer’s excitement about seeing her name in a printed program (I’m guessing this is a young person just developing her business)
  • a recipe for crème brûlée
  • a video showing how playful wombats can be

Share megaphones embedded These revelations won’t disrupt the space-time continuum, but they do illustrate how much we love to share with others anything that we find to be interesting, helpful, insightful, humorous, or entertaining. Generally, I think this is a good thing. (Although, I’ve seen quite enough photos of my friends’ dinners.)

So while many people bemoan technology’s tendency to stifle personal interaction, it seems obvious that in at least some respects it has greatly extended our opportunities and inclination to share with and learn from others. (Did you know that wombats were playful? I didn’t.)

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But where many of us can improve, I believe, is in our selection of truths to share. It’s not surprising that the vast majority of our sharing is superficial and mostly meaningless, except perhaps for its very fleeting entertainment value. Does anyone disagree that in our society genial discourse is nearly a lost art?

Could we not give greater benefit to our friends and families by telling them about the more meaningful truths we’ve learned and that have helped us in some way? Of course, there are risks, such as embarrassing ourselves with inelegant expression, or being ignored or rejected, or intimidating those who are uncomfortable with meaningful conversation or deep thoughts.

On the other hand, those weightier topics are likely the most important ones, the ones most needed by others, and hopefully worth the risks. An additional benefit is the possibility of encouraging others to reciprocate and share the lessons they’ve learned.

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As an introvert who is also very shy, sharing with others has never been easy or natural for me. It’s not that I don’t care about helping others if I can, I’m just poorly skilled with interpersonal relationships, and intimidated by the effort required to develop them. In this respect, technology—especially the Internet—has given me great new opportunities. Through Facebook and now this blog I am far better able to share my thoughts than I am in face-to-face conversation.

How do you share what you’ve learned with others?

Are you shy about sharing deeper, more meaningful truths? Why or why not?

Do you think your friends would appreciate you taking the risk, and sharing the truths that they most greatly need?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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3 responses to “Sharing Truth

  1. Thanks for raising those thought-provoking questions, Earl! I think we can safely follow these guidelines in the Word of God:

    “speaking the truth in love.” (Eph. 4:15)
    “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Cor. 13:4-7)

    As such, many so-called ‘truth sharing’ on social media nowadays would merely be exercises in futility.

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    • You are certainly right, Scott: social media do spread a lot of meaningless chatter around the Internet, but there’s excellent, meaningful truth out there as well. I’m hoping that people will be encouraged by this post to learn to be intentional about what they share. But that doesn’t mean we should never share cute videos of playful pet antics. “A cheerful heart brings good healing” (Prov 17:22, NET).

      Of course, we are all responsible for what we accept from any source, what we pay attention to, what we allow to seep into our thinking and attitudes. Filtering both–sending and receiving–by a loving attitude could be an excellent corrective to some of the drivel.

      Maybe before we click the Share button, we should learn to ask ourselves, “Am I sharing this with love? Is it helpful to others in some way?” And before we spew out a mean-spirited comment about something that disgusts us we could ask, “How can I build up people who do such despicable things, instead of just condemning them? Rather than just ranting about how terrible the world is, how can I encourage people to do whatever they can to improve it?”

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      • “Am I sharing this with love?” Yes, that is the question! How about using God’s Word (again) as our guidelines:
        “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” (1 Cor. 13:4-7 New Living Translation)

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