Brian Williams and Speaking the Truth

The Brian Williams saga has really upset me. Not because I am a fan or critic of Brian Williams but because it shows how vulnerable we all are.

Think about how quickly Brian Williams has gone from a position of prestige and significance to that of becoming a laughing stock.

In case you missed it (ICYMI in internet abbreviation), Brian Williams was caught in an exaggerated or fabricated story. He told how he was in a helicopter hit by a rocket propelled grenade in Iraq. When a number of members of the crew disputed the story, Williams apologized and corrected the story. Unfortunately, even that story was incorrect.

Since that time, several stories of Brian Williams have been questioned. His reporting from the French Quarter in New Orleans is at the forefront of those disputed events. Reporting from a French Quarter hotel, he told of seeing a body floating down the street in the quarter.

The problem, as most people intimately acquainted with Hurricane Katrina know, is that the Quarter didn’t flood. When the French built the city, they chose the area above the flood plain. Pictures taken shortly after Katrina show that the Quarter didn’t flood.

In response to all this Brian Williams decided to take some time away from the NBC Nightly News. It’s a bad situation. Social media is parodying Williams repeatedly. Last night NBC announced that Williams has been suspended for six months.

I don’t intend to pile on Brian Williams.

This is a temptation for almost anyone. Those of us who speak repeatedly know how easy it is to say the wrong thing. We must guard our words. It is especially important for those who speak the gospel to make sure our words are correct.

What must we do?

First, we must determine to speak the truth and be found faithful with our words. In the world of Google, any story can be checked for accuracy.

But, it doesn’t matter whether or not the accuracy can be checked, we must speak the truth. It matters to God, and it matters to the people who hear.

People can decide whether or not they want to listen, but let our words be true.

Second, we must recognize that our reputation and integrity is everything. I fear Brian Williams can’t overcome this. Once your reputation is destroyed, it’s almost impossible to regain it.

It makes more sense to guard it carefully and to be circumspect with your speech.

Third, if we misspeak, we must quickly correct what we said, apologize, and ask forgiveness.Nothing less will do.

It’s easy to get caught up in a conversation or a sermon and misspeak; it’s essential to correct our misspeaking.

I hurt for Brian Williams. Let us pray for his restoration and well-being.

Let us also determine to be people who “let the words of our mouths” be pleasing to God.

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