Ways I’ve Subtly Stretched the Truth

Speaking the truth is a lot harder than it used to be. It's not that I consciously want to lie. But there are times, as a preacher, when the truth I intend to speak falls victim to subtle abuse. In reflecting on my own preaching, I've noticed six ways I have unwittingly abused the truth.

Misusing popular terms

One morning as I opened the mail, I came across a letter from a member of our parish. I felt the blush rush to my cheeks as I read it. The writer explained that I had used schizophrenic inaccurately. This was particularly disturbing to her because she suffered from schizophrenia. Reading her gentle rebuke, I remembered the sermon in which I had committed this gaffe.

I had preached what I thought was a clever sermon about the love of God, saying, among other things, that we must discard any notion that sets the holiness of God against the love of God. "God is not," I said, "schizophrenic."

Thinking back to the preparation of the sermon, I recalled feeling a slight twinge of doubt about ...

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