In the 1950’s television series Dragnet, Sergeant Joe Friday would always say, “Just the facts, Ma’am” as he investigated the crime of the week. Emotions would impede the effectiveness of his investigation so he was quick to shut them down. Sgt. Friday did his job by cutting through emotional responses, working with facts and discerning the truth.
Today we have ‘fact-checkers’ that work to cut through emotions and bias in coverage of an issue to help all discern truth in the matter. They have been deployed for television interviews, political debates, newspaper articles and social media postings. Just the facts. On March 5, 2021, the Editorial Board of WSJ produced an article, “Fact-Checking Facebook’s Fact Checkers” in which they stated, “the media giant is employing left-wing vetters to limit scientific debate.” At issue was an article written by Dr. Makary, a professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Facebook’s fact checkers were found “cherry picking” studies to support their own opinion, which they then presented as fact.
Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” … “for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” – John 14:6 & 18:37-38. The facts are, from John 1:1-2 & 14 that, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. … And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” In the audience of Pilate, Jesus points to Himself, the Word in the flesh, as the truth. It was not an emotional statement but a factual one. The emotions of the crowd and the alternative facts provided by the religious leaders of the day impeded Pilate’s ability to discern truth. The challenge today is to cut through emotions and bias, work with facts and discern the truth. With the various media platforms, due diligence and prayer are keys for discerning truth.
One clear fact is that we live in a fallen world. All fall short of the glory of the Father (Romans 3:23). There will always be emotions, bias and fact-fudging at work to distract from the only facts that matter - Jesus the Christ was born of the virgin Mary; was blessed by His Father; He lived a sinless life; He obeyed His Father all the way to the cross, even death on a cross; He put death to sin on the cross; He walked out of the tomb; He appeared to His disciples and the many; and He ascended back to His Father. Just the facts … for eternal life.
Prayer guide: Lord, thank You for Your word and for Your Son’s life, death and resurrection. I confess that I have let the noise of the media distract me from facts I need to be grounded in, that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Forgive me. As I prepare my family for Holy Week, ground me in the only facts that matter – Your Son’s life of obedience all the way to the cross, even death on a cross, to put death to sin and open the door to the Father. Help me lead my family to Easter with a passion that glorifies You. That is the dad you call me to be and that’s the dad the next generation needs. Amen.
A faithful father works with facts, discerns truth and leads his family.