It was a day where you could fry an egg on the sidewalk in Okinawa, Japan. Hot, humid, and dry are all accurate adjectives for the day on which my Company Commander decided to take us on a beach run. This wasn’t a run in shorts and tennis shoes, but a run in a green t-shirt, camo pants, and cumbersome combat boots. Needless to say, sand didn’t sound too appealing in light of the apparel we were expected to wear. When we set out, things weren’t too bad. The sand was somewhat dry and so we were able to remain, for the most part, on the surface of the beach without sinking. It didn’t take long, however, for us to encounter a high tide with very wet sand. In wet sand, it’s not uncommon to sink an inch or two, especially with gear on. But, as with anything in the Marine Corps we were expected to maximally perform despite the sinking sand. The wet surface was so bad that it felt like half the platoon would have exclaimed “Hallelujah” upon reaching some bedrock to run on. The bedrock was easy to travel across, even in boots; but the sand was exhausting and almost crippling.
Talking to people is often like this. Nearly everything people talk about is either true or false, real or unreal, sinking sand or solid foundation. Take the subject of computer engineering, for example. A person can inaccurately describe a certain kind of motherboard, or graphics card. They could even tell someone the wrong HTML code. When this happens, plans go awry. One time, I put the wrong type of memory sticks in my laptop and had constant issues with my display. The twisting of one fact, or the miscommunication of one number can result in terrible consequences. In the military, I was designated a tactical vehicle mechanic. If I disconnected the wrong hose on a Humvee, I would have oil, , coolant, or transmission fluid all down my front side! Mistakes cost a lot of either time or money, or both. If a person is following incorrect instructions, or fails to pay close attention to the manual, falsity rather than truth will often serve as the foundation for one’s actions. The sinking sand of misconception makes weary its victims, but the surety of bedrock allows for the transmission of the truth.
Communicating God’s truth works similarly.
God’s people often have genuine intentions when sharing what they believe to be His Word, yet if they get it wrong, they incorrectly deliver the King’s message to the recipient. Think about the game telephone. In telephone, a person starts with a particular word or sentence which they intend to send through a chain of messengers only to eventually reach the recipient at the very end. Anyone who has ever played this game knows that the message is typically unrecognizable, or severely changed, by the time it reaches the last person in the chain. Imagine, then, starting this game with a message that has already been altered! There would be no chance of preserving the message if the message starts out wrong.
As Christians, we must be very careful to transmit God’s revealed truth to people in the best condition possible. Kingly messengers, in the middle ages, were expected to do nothing less than present their leader’s message entirely, without flaw or distortion of the original. As God’s messengers, we do not want anyone to be justified in accusing us of twisting God’s holy Word. We are His messengers and are therefore His trusted communicators, the King’s children, willing to give our lives to guard the information we possess.