14Apr

The exaggeration epidemic: could you be infected?

evangelism, honesty online, transparency online, authenticity online, sharing Christ online

Are you keeping it real or laying it on thick?

The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful. Prov. 12:22

by Toni Birdsong
Let’s just call it what it is: cajolery, flattery, smooth talk, snowing, buttering up, or just good ol’ brown nosing. The truth remains that insincerity (however unintentional) is part of the verbal currency of the digital landscape. And while flattering words can win you friends and fans online, this kind of daily digital banter can be risky business for a Christ follower.

While exaggeration has been part of social hierarchies since the beginning of time, it paints a spiritually destructive layer of duplicity over our hearts. It’s often easy to rationalize the amplification of the truth but, by definition, exaggeration really is lying . . .

Exaggeration: 1. to regard or represent as larger or greater, more important or more successful, than is true.

Truth: 1. fact. 2. sincerity, candor, frankness. 3. precision, exactness.

The bible warns us:

For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre;
they flatter with their tongue. – Psalm 5:9

The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil,
yet were they drawn swords. -Psalm 55:21

May the Lord cut off all flattering lips and every boastful tongue… – Psalm 12:3

How to avoid the insincerity trap:

  1. Stop talking & listen. People will clue you in about what’s important to them. You don’t need to guess by painting on the goo.
  2. Be truly interested in others. Check your heart for ulterior, selfish motives. Rely on God, not people for your reward or gain.
  3. Be yourself. Act online the same way you would in person. Relax and trust yourself. You are one-of-a-kind and created by God for specific conversations and appointments in this world. Authenticity attracts; while insincerity puts off.
  4. Know & grow your heart. Commune, confess, and co-exist with God. Let Him lead the conversations of your day.
  5. Let your words be few. Don’t over-polish and over-flatter. The truth can stand on it’s own. Trust it. Give compliments, encouragement, and gratitude when due.
  6. Be content and present. Walk your walk. It’s better to be real and sincere with 10 people than fake and insincere with 10,000.

Do you notice insincerity & exaggeration in the online world? How do you personally keep it real from day-to-day?

Post/Tweet today:
Truth gives wings to real relationship. Trust that truth is enough to carry the day. #LiveSticky

share your faith, digital evangelism, Jesus Christ, Internet Evangelism Day

 

 

If you like this blog, you’ll love the book, @stickyJesus: how to live out your faith online.

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  • Melinda Ysaguirre

    This is a great discussion. When people are moving really quickly online there is a tendency to go the wrong way.

    What I watch for is motives-often times I begin to follow someone on Twitter and in a short time they are sending DM’s with links to purchase their books, records, etc…(and some lack the courtesty to even follow back)
    This puts up little red caution flags.

    When we greet new people for the first time, in a social setting-face to face, we don’t immediately start the conversation by writing down our websites, books, records, circumstances, and achivements on a napkin then handing it over to someone.

    When our motives humbly reflect our identity in Christ personal relationships thrive.

    Thanks for a refreshing dose of truth helping to guard our hearts and minds.

    Bless you dear friends!

  • Melinda Ysaguirre

    This is a great discussion. When people are moving really quickly online there is a tendency to go the wrong way.

    What I watch for is motives-often times I begin to follow someone on Twitter and in a short time they are sending DM’s with links to purchase their books, records, etc…(and some lack the courtesty to even follow back)
    This puts up little red caution flags.

    When we greet new people for the first time, in a social setting-face to face, we don’t immediately start the conversation by writing down our websites, books, records, circumstances, and achivements on a napkin then handing it over to someone.

    When our motives humbly reflect our identity in Christ personal relationships thrive.

    Thanks for a refreshing dose of truth helping to guard our hearts and minds.

    Bless you dear friends!

  • Tami Heim

    Melinda – God has blessed you with many REAL relationships online and it thrills us daily to be included among them. You’re a constant encouragement and champion for all that is good. Thanks for disrupting the noise, speaking truth, and giving us so many moments where we are living JOYFULLTOO – in real time – with you. LYI.

  • http://www.kimcashtate.com Kim Cash Tate

    Such an interesting and convicting post! The online world truly is given to exaggeration. Even the word “friend” is an exaggeration when we compare it to the real world, yet because of Facebook, we are quick to call everyone that. In encouraging people online about something they’ve done or posted, if I say I “love” it, do I mean it in the truest sense, or in the online-way-of-saying-things sense? Hmmm… You asked if we notice insincerity and exaggeration in the online world. All day! That’s why I’m so thankful to you two for moving us to constantly check our hearts.

  • Anonymous

    And we are thankful that you are a successful Christian leader who still refuses to “drink the Kool-Aid,” which means frankly that “celebrity” isn’t your online mission—we align with you because you remain . . . simply, Kim.

    Yes, all of us—including moms who exaggerate about their kids and companies who exaggerate their success—need to keep our hearts in check and know the moment we are on shaky ground. It’s not as black and white as it looks . . . such delicious feasting ground for the enemy.

  • http://www.kimcashtate.com Kim Cash Tate

    Toni, I honestly don’t consider myself a “successful Christian leader,” but wherever God has me, if you ever see me “drink the Kool-aid”–please be quick to give me the smack-down. I don’t know why Twitter in particular seems to give believers license to pursue celebrity and lift themselves above others. I can only pray not to be used by the enemy in that way. And I mean it, smack me down if I do. :)

  • Anonymous

    This is a great conversation and one that I noticed myself a few months back. Your post on March 3rd really got my heart and head thinking about my presence online and wondering if I was truly honoring God. I’ve made some important and HUGE changes in my life since the first of the year and He is doing a mighty work. It’s so important for us to be authentic, compassionate, intentional and kind in all relationships…surrendering ourselves to His will for our lives instead of our own. “Relax and trust yourself. You are one-of-a-kind and created by God for specific conversations and appointments in this world. Authenticity attracts; while insincerity puts off.” – SO TRUE. Praying that He is honored in my everyday! Thank you for the continued push to be Christ like.. it’s good, good stuff.

  • Tami Heim

    In the surrender there is freedom and He gets us where we need to be, when we need to be there. We are one-of-a-kind and have a place where we fit perfectly in the grand plan. I am grateful for the truth of it- no need to add to it or take away from it. It’s perfect just as it is. Looking forward to seeing you SOON.

  • Tami Heim

    We got you covered dear one. Love you BIG.

  • Anonymous

    Well Kim, God has seen fit to give you a very public ministry (Women of Faith . . . um … 20K people at a time?!) and to have that kind of influence and remain anchored to God’s heart …. well, it’s not a job for sissies (I would imagine). Have I told you I’ve been to WOF 8 times? I have yet to hear you speak but it’s def on my bucket list!

    And the smack down thing . . . people have purchased tickets for to attend my personal smack down rounds. I think we can all unwittingly wade into dangerous waters unwittingly. As the Body of Christ, we need to hold each other accountable (in love)—NOW more than ever since we are all conversing so publically.

    I love that you injected your thoughts into this sensitive subject, Kim—thanks a bunch!

  • Anonymous

    Melinda, I resonate with the “moving quickly” trap. Typing and clicking lends itself to a hurried pace by its very nature. To be more sensitive to that is a cool way to guard yourself.

    I love your analogy of online vs. face to face. You are right, there is a sensitivity and a timing to all real relationship that is critical . . . if you are serious about more than just closing the sale. To imitate Christ (which you reflect online so genuinely) is magnetic. And, I pray it’s my heart goal every day. (There but for His grace . . . do I step out truth).

  • Juliedumond

    This might be quite simple, but some people really truly are sincere in their encouragement. No lies and no exaggeration intended. Just simple honest encouragement for one another. I find it the easiest thing in the world do to. Diana Cue says it is because it is my gift. So then- if this is true and sincere from me- How can I make sure the person who reads it – knows I am being sincere?
    I could use the advice since you posted this….

  • Anonymous

    Julie – You know how Sarah Berger always says you have a “knower” that just “knows” in you? Well, I think when people are fake, it’s pretty obvious to those around them—over a period of time. If you are on Twitter a lot, it’s more prevalent. Lots of hidden (and not-so-hidden) agendas and over-the-top complimenting going on. And, sometimes some pretty obvious pushiness. After awhile, it’s almost like you develop a muscle and you can spot it easier.

    You are RIGHT. There are so many sincere people online and VERY genuine hearts. I’ve met some of my dearest friends online—friends I would hop on a plane and “be there” for through thick and thin. I think the best way to discern genuine hearts is the same way you do offline—you walk some tough roads with them and see that that they are consistently honest, genuine people. Time and circumstance reveal true colors.

    So happy you weighed in today! Love your insight!

  • http://kellysinging.com Kellysinging

    Great post. We need to be careful that we don’t let ourselves say something that is not entirely truthful just because we know the recipient won’t understand. It’s more important to be pleasing to God and take extra time, if necessary, to explain ourselves others.
    It is heart-breaking to see compulsive liars because they eventually believe their own lies as truth.