Ideas with Integrity

lamp and snowThis past week, the top-rated TV news anchor came under fire for embellishing—lying about—news stories. Witnesses have come forward to say that his version of events in Iraq and during Hurricane Katrina did not happen.

These stories would’ve made great fiction. But as news stories, they lack integrity.

Several years ago, I attended a conference held by a Christian press association. One of the speakers was a well-known and award-winning journalist. He enthralled us with stories of life in war zones. He told us amazing tales of miracles. You could hear a pin drop in the room.

I remember one of those stories. He claimed that he needed to escape a frightening situation. God opened up an alley where none had existed so that he could get away.

A few months later, he was fired from his job for lying in his stories. He was so well-known and so many people had trusted him for so many years that it made the news. I felt foolish. Here I was, a professional editor, believing spectacular stories with no proof or corroboration.

As Christian writers, we need to make sure that we use our ideas with integrity. Is it true? Are we claiming it’s true? Are we “embellishing” our ideas? Would it work better as fiction?

On the other hand, we also need to be wise when contemplating the idea of telling someone else’s story. We can’t believe something just because someone tells us it’s true. God does work miracles. But as writers, we need to do our research. Can we verify the details? Who else witnessed it? What is their perspective? How trustworthy is the person telling us the story?

We need to write with integrity. Embellishing our ideas might make us look more spiritual or blessed in a special way. However, it brings dishonor to the Kingdom of God.

Accepting someone else’s embellished story also dishonors God. If we naively write a story of a miracle without checking the facts, we look foolish and we perpetuate the stereotype that Christians just look for the sensational.

God works in powerful ways. We don’t need to enhance the story. We need to tell the truth.

© Deborah Christensen

Posted on February 9, 2015, in current events, fiction, inspiration, interview, news, nonfiction, wisdom, witnessing, writer's life, writing, writing ideas and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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