Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Misinformation Highway

Everyone's an expert. Or at least has a convincing viewpoint, even if in their own mind.

We're traveling to Canada in a few weeks for a family reunion. And we've been dealing with the big question--passport or no passport. Mat and I are covered as we have passports. But it's the kids we're concerned about. Would hate to have to leave them at the border (most days, anyway).

So I checked the Homeland Security Web site. Reassured that the kids didn't need passports, I shelved the worry and got back to the business of trying to enjoy my summer with bored children (they've been out of school a week).

But then someone in the checkout line of the grocery store convinced me that the Homeland Security site wasn't up to speed as I most certainly did need a passport. And did I know how backlogged the passport agency was? No one could get a passport in under a month's time.

As we're supposed to leave in two weeks, sheer panic set in. So I called my local post office where the gal assured me that no I did not need passports for the children, but I did need birth certificates and photo ID for them. Heart rate fell back to normal as I hung up the phone. But even then, I worried a fingernail. What if she was mistaken? What if we got to the border and were turned away, trailer loaded with camping essentials and pickup packed with grumpy kids.

I could not take that chance.

So I called a post office in a neighboring town. That gentleman told me that absolutely the children needed passports. He didn't know anything about what the Homeland Security site stated, but knew he was correct as his office received frequent regulation updates.

I warp sped back to panic. Did some digging and got a hold of the number for the federal passport agency. The woman I finally spoke with after listening to multitudes of . . . "please press 1 if you need to speak with . . ." was amazing. She was calm and she had knowledge. And the golden reassurance was that she was the passport agency. What she said was truth (and of course, matched the Homeland Security Web site—went full circle on that one).

Lesson learned? Go to the source. Go to the maker of truth.

Everyone will give you their version of the truth. But much of it is misinformation or has gotten warped and twisted along the way. Kind of like that telephone game we played as kids. The first person says something in the second person's ear, and by the time it's gone around the circle and the last person shares what they heard, it's nothing like the original statement.

You know what I think often happens with God's truth? We Christians think we know God, but in actuality live under rules of performance that we think God puts on us, and then we push them onto others.

So God's truth gets twisted through us. And it grieves him. It pushes away the very people he wants to wrap his arms around.

We're his spokespersons and we're getting it wrong because we really don't understand his truths. We don't really understand or know Him. Just like the people in all those passport offices that I spoke with. They thought they knew truth, and they spoke as if it were the truth.

But it doesn't have to be bad news. Ask God to reveal who he truly is to you. If you are afraid of God, or afraid of what he thinks when he looks at you, you don't have to be. That is not what the Bible teaches. If you've confessed your sinfulness to Him, and asked Jesus to be your savior, you don't have to live in fear any more.

There is only one truth. God's truth. And it's good news.


  1. Great post!
    Blessings from Costa Rica

  2. Thanks Kathie! Blessings to you and your hubby!