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When people speak trash, speak the truth

Two men lived in a small village and got into a terrible dispute that could not be resolved. Because they could not come to an agreement, they decided to talk to the wisest man within the town. The first of the two men went to the wise man’s home and told him his version of the story. When he finished, the wise man said, “Now, you sir are absolutely right.” The next day, the second man called on the wise man and told him his side of the story. After hearing the second man’s version he responded, “You’re absolutely right.” After the second man departed, the wise man’s wife scolded her husband. “Those men told you two completely different stories and you told both of them that they were absolutely right. That’s impossible — they can’t both be absolutely right.” The wise man turned to his wife and said, “You know, you’re absolutely right.”

Occasionally, even peacemakers have to engage in conflict. To avoid confrontation at all costs often becomes a recipe for even greater conflict and pain. Conflict is usually based on misinformation that tends to play on emotions rather than facts.

James Dobson once said, “If you tell me the truth all of the time I can believe you all of the time, but if you tell me the truth part of the time, I can’t believe you any of the time.” Jesus summed it up when he said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”

Isn’t it amazing how people gravitate towards false statements that are deliberately presented as truths? Remember in the garden, part of what the serpent told Eve was true. However, the serpent mixed in just enough truth to make the false statement appear realistic. But a half truth still remains a whole lie. Our first response to a controversial statement should be to ask ourselves, “Why was this information shared with me? What does the messenger gain by telling me?”

The serpent told the half truth because he stood to gain something. He wanted to attempt to destroy humanity and it all started with a half truth. The primary intent of all false statements is to destroy, not to build up.

So, we have a choice to make; when someone starts speaking trash, we can choose to add more garbage or we can start speaking truth.

The decision is ours. Conflict will come, but how we deal with it determines our character.