A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established. If a malicious witness arises to accuse a person of wrongdoing, then both parties to the dispute shall appear before the Lord, before the priests and the judges who are in office in those days. The judges shall inquire diligently, and if the witness is a false witness and has accused his brother falsely, then you shall do to him as he had meant to do to his brother. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.
I read this and thought how far we have moved away from this basic law, rule, guideline, whatever you choose to call it.
The purpose of this law in the ancient times of Israel is self-evident.
You can’t accept the accusations of one person against another. As humans we all, at some point have had an ax to grind with someone along the way. And malicious or not we all just blurt out stupid nonsensical things.
We lash out at others to hurt them because we feel they have hurt us, or because we just don’t like that person. We don’t like what they say, do and or believe. So even though we have no justification or evidence, we repeat some hear say that fits our point of view. We will do evil things and justify them in our minds. We will do what we feel is necessary to help our agenda.
We will say horrible things because we covet. We covet someone else’s power, wealth, family or maybe just the life they appear to lead.
Through my years of living and dealing with all sorts of people I have learned that the truth is not easily obtained.
The truth isn’t obtained from one individual, one group or one organization.
No matter how righteous we may be we all have our own slant on a story and that slant is always tilted in our favor. It’s just human nature.
When I was a manager I had a rule I tried to live by, much like the rule laid out in the verses cited at the beginning of this post. If two individuals had a dispute or problem with each other, and if one of those individuals come to me complaining about the other I would try to do two things.
First I would listen to that person’s complaint. I would find out what the other person was doing that annoyed the complaining person. Mind you, this was job performance or petty personal stuff. I have been fortunate not to have to address complaints of sexual harassment or threats of physical harm.
After hearing the complaining persons story I would call in the second person and in the presence of the first person begin to discuss the problem.
The stories would start to change. Things weren’t quite as horrible as the complaining person would have me believe. And usually at that point, the truth started to come out. Generally the differences could be worked out.
It’s not that any one person was lying or intentionally lying. It’s just that without that check and balance of a second party, the truth becomes colored by our imagination, wants and needs.
What I have learned through the years is that the truth usually lies somewhere in the middle when it comes to a dispute between two people, groups, parties, organizations, etc…
God know this and imparted this wisdom onto the Israelites.
Sadly today we have moved far, far away from this rule, law, guideline, whatever you want to call it. We are quick to try and convict a person based on the accusations of one individual especially if it fits our narrative.
And what is really sad is this is the modus operandi of those who are supposed to be and who professes to be the beacon of truth in today’s society; the press, the mass media.
One tidbit of information, one statement by one source that doesn’t even have a name, and if this piece of gossip fits their agenda, be it one side or the other, the public trial begins.
Journalists are taught in journalism school to source information at least twice and that anonymous sources should only be used in the event of public danger. Makes senses and follows the rules of Deuteronomy 19:15-19.
Well that ship has sailed a long time ago.
And this mode of operation isn’t just with the press, the mass media, it’s throughout all media and society.
Just look at social media. One article or post by one individual is touted as “the truth”, something that will “blow the lid off” everything you’ve ever known.
It’s only one person’s fairytale but if it fits what we want to believe, if it fits what we think and justifies what we believe, if it fits what we covet, then it’s the most amazing, epic, awesome thing we’ve ever heard.
What God is telling the Israelites is to seek the truth. He is telling them and us to work at finding the truth. Don’t just take the easy way out and believe everything you see and hear.
The problem is, it takes work. It takes time and effort to say “well that kind of makes sense but let me check this out for myself, let me research this and look at it from all angles and perspectives. And after doing my homework perhaps I will find the truth somewhere in the middle.”
No it’s easier to read a post or read a sentence and even easier to look at a meme or picture or watch one video that fits what we would like to believe is true and say “well that’s the truth”. It’s easy and comfortable.
Remember we all have agendas, from the most righteous to the most evil.
And we never let the truth get in the way of a good story.
© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.