One of the most respected names in the news business just took a major hit. Brian Williams, well known anchor and managing editor of NBC News, has been suspended for six months. Evidently he “conflated” several events in his reporting during the war in Iraq. As the digging deeper into this mess continues, it seems he has conflated before. I wasn’t very familiar with the word “conflate” but it was a part of his apology for inserting himself into his reports. We could just cut through all this and simply say that he lied.
The word “lie” isn’t used very much these days. People miss-spoke or their quotes are taken out of context or “what I meant to say …”
Preachers can be guilty. We are a breed that is known to embellish the truth or tell someone else’s story as if it happened to us. You would think we would have higher ethics. It’s not a pretty picture when we play loose with the truth.
One of my favorite humorists is Jeanne Robertson. I hope to bring her to Wieuca for a special occasion soon. She tells a story about her grandmother that illustrates what happens to even the best of us when we stretch things.
Jeanne’s grandmother was a well-known speaker herself. She was popular with church and civic groups. One of her best-received programs was a series of stories about the Holy Land. Over time, she even found a boxed set of slides she would show as she talked about specific locations. After a while, the story changed. She would refer to these scenes in the first person – as in, “when I was in Bethlehem …” The only problem was that she had never been to the Holy Land. People loved her so much they just went along with the charade.
We all know we’re supposed to tell the truth. We all know that honesty is indeed the best policy. That doesn’t keep us from misspeaking or stretching the truth or lying, does it?
I am so glad our God is forgiving. He knows what we say, what we think, what we feel. He loves us enough to keep prompting us, teaching us, correcting us, and encouraging us. Jesus said we would know the truth, and the truth would set us free.
I don’t know how Brian Williams really feels about all this. I hope he is sorry – not the “I’m sorry I got caught” kind, either. I’m not his judge. I have enough problems without condemning someone else. I do know that we show honor to God and respect to ourselves when we just tell the truth. The truth is not always easy, sometimes hurts, can even be risky … but it certainly beats the alternative.