Tuesday, January 19, 2016

"Anyone can find the dirt in someone"... How Facebook helps twist God's Word

Have you seen this on Facebook? It is a wonderful sentiment. I approve of the concept of looking at the positive and trying to find the good in a person.

Seeing this makes me emit an instant, "awww" and want to press "Like" and "Share."


But I don't. Why?

There is a Bible verse attached to the sentence. A Bible verse is the word of GOD. So I must treat it with respect, and at the very least, look it up to make sure that someone making the scripture picture didn't accidentally make a typo on the address. So I check to see if the verse and the address match up?

No. Here is what Proverbs 11:27 actually says.
  • Whoever diligently seeks good seeks favor, but evil comes to him who searches for it. (ESV)
  • The one who searches for what is good finds favor, but if someone looks for trouble, it will come to him. (HSCB)
  • If you search for good, you will find favor; but if you search for evil, it will find you! (NLT)
No matter what translation you look at the verse in, the sentiment expressed on the photo is not the same as the one stated in the Word. Every translation mentions evil, but the scripture photo mentions only good. The verse is saying that the person who goes looking for trouble will find it but those who do good will receive favor from God and men.

That's the trouble with Twitter, Facebook, etc. Only half the verse is shown. Or it's ripped from its context (Jeremiah 29:11 comes immediately to mind). The context in which this verse was ripped then twisted is embedded among-
Proverbs contrasting the nature and destiny of the righteous and wicked (11:1–31). The righteous follow a clear path in life, are delivered from troubles, are generous, and strengthen their communities. The wicked hoard money but are not saved by it, are a curse to their families and communities, and face certain punishment.
Garrett, D. A. (1998). The Poetic and Wisdom Books.

In untwisting the twisted part of the verse Matthew Henry says of it:
1. Those that are industrious to do good in the world get themselves beloved both with God and man: ... that seeks opportunities of serving his friends and relieving the poor, and lays out himself therein, procures favour. All about him love him, and speak well of him, and will be ready to do him a kindness; and, which is better than that, better than life, he has God’s lovingkindness.
2. Those that are industrious to do mischief are preparing ruin for themselves: It shall come unto them; some time or other they will be paid in their own coin. And, observe, seeking mischief is here set in opposition to seeking good; for those that are not doing good are doing hurt.
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume.

The verse is not about finding a nice quality in a person among other negative qualities. It is about a person himself doing good as opposed to evil. The one who does good receives favor from men and God. The one who does evil, piles evil back onto himself. It's actually the opposite of what the Facebook photo verse is stating.

The Facebook twisted version makes man the hero.
The Bible's version makes God the hero.
See the difference?

And does it make sense to put a scripture address on a verse that is totally re-phrased in man's words, anyway?

EPrata photo
That's the problem with twisting a verse. It's a problem also when we carelessly re-tweet it or share it without proper investigation. We add to the general confusion regarding what the Bible actually says. Of all things on this earth the one thing we should be the most careful with is God's word. Yet on social media, a powerful influencer of minds and hearts, it is the most carelessly handled. It's sad that so many have shared and liked this verse that is not a verse and means what it does not mean.


Now, I'm not condemning any of the nearly 1 million people who shared it. It's a nice sentiment. I wanted to post it myself. But if you want to send around a nice sentiment like this one, there are plenty of them in the Bible that mean exactly what they mean without omitting important parts of the verse or twisting it. You have your pick of verses that urge us to edify each other, to cover each other's sins, or to love one another.

Before pressing "Like" or "Share" please stop and look it up. Make sure the verse is addressed correctly and isn't twisted.

Don't twist the Bible

9 comments :

  1. Amen, amen, and amen!!! I am "that person" who, when reading something like this, will often post the verse as it appears in scripture along with which translation it comes from. No remarks, just the verse. The word of God is too precious to misuse!

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  2. Thanks for saying what so many people need to hear!

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  3. Thanks DebbieLynne! Good idea Linda for posting the verse as it should be.

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  4. I found this post while Googling to see if I was the only person whose reaction to seeing that inspirational post show up on my Facebook feed was "NOPE! The proverb doesn't say that. At all." I have no issue with the sentiment expressed, but the interpretation is careless and flat-out wrong. Thanks for elaborating on this.

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    1. I hear ya! I felt the same way. I first looked up the verse on BibleGateway, and then decided to google the phrase. This is a very useful site.

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  5. I did the same thing with someone I knew. I even commented on it and liked it before it struck me to reverse my actions and check it out. Wonder why so many of us felt uneasy about it. My personal feelings on it is that the people that found their way to this page found it for a reason. Did any else see the name of this page and it instantly confirmed your suspicions? Or am I just making things up. What I am saying is Revalations tells of the devil doing this sort of thing. I know what made all of us fond this page and I am so happy and saddened that I did. I love you all and pray harder than ever before. We need to tell as many people as we can about the lord before it is too late. We wont save them all but we are not intended to we are only into did to to do our best and try. If you can help bring one soul into the Lord it will be worth it. Lets get vigilante Christians. Our savior is on His way.

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  6. Spot on, Steven Lawson! *\o/* Sharing! If we keep pushing, maybe we can spin Facebook in the other direction. The RIGHT one! #Untwisted dontkissthatfrog.blogspot.com

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  7. I feel I must apologize, Elizabeth Prata, for not paying attention that it was a quote by Steven Lawson rather than the author of this blog on your banner! Doh! I have been clicking around and like what I see here. You can guest post on my blog any time! Stand strong! Keep The Faith † Share The Faith

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  8. I agree that the quote shouldn't list proverbs as the source if it is misquoted but I believe in the quote itself, more so than the correct one that references evil. Everyone, regardless of what they believe in should strive to find the best in each person.

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