Some of you may remember an old TV show called “Dragnet,” where Detective Joe Friday was known for saying, “Just the facts, ma’am.” He wanted to cut straight through to what was important, rather than wade through the muck of what might or might not matter. I don’t think even his character realized how relevant that statement was. In fact, more often than not, we don’t really care what the truth is, rather we want to know the gory details, which are usually of no consequence.
Case in point: A pastor went to visit a woman from his church before she was to have serious surgery. As he walked into her hospital room, he found her in the arms of a man who was not her husband. Stunned and embarrassed, he silently walked out. Later, he discovered that this woman’s brother had flown in from California to comfort her before her surgery.
After that, the pastor said, “I could have told others I saw that woman in the arms of a man who was not her husband and it would have been, in theory, a fact, but it would not have been the whole truth.”
The press often does this in reporting what people have done. They confuse the story surrounding the event with the whole truth. This results in half-truths that are really the worst forms of lies, because they are so believable. Gossip and slander are big on “facts” and short on truth. They unfairly destroy people’s character.
The next time you hear something bad about another person, be sure you have more than just the story. Be sure you have the whole truth, for it is easy to confuse the facts with the truth. And most of the time, it’s not your business to share, anyway!
Remember, there is only one perfect truth and that truth is embodied in the life of Jesus Christ.