shouting, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches everyone everywhere against our people, our law, and this sanctuary! Furthermore he has brought Greeks into the inner courts of the temple and made this holy place ritually unclean!” — Acts 21:28 NET
This was a case of gross misrepresentation. Paul had never uttered a word against either the Jewish people, the law, or the temple. They had perverted and distorted his words–into meanings he never thought of. Many people thus take the words of others, give a wrong sense to them, and then repeat them!
Misrepresentation is a grievous sin. Many a calumny that destroys a fair name, grows from a mere misstatement, an inexact reporting of something said or done. We should be scrupulously careful, if we must repeat what others say, that we state the precise truth. No fault of speech is more common–than lack of accuracy in quoting. Most people’s ears seem to hear with a bias in favor of their own prejudices; then in reporting what they have heard, the bias is too apt to show its influence a second time in emphasizing the distortion.
Besides, when a story travels as far as from Ephesus to Jerusalem, and passes through a number of ears and tongues, it is scarcely to be expected that it will arrive just the same as it started. It is proverbial, that stories grow in frequent repetition. Paul is not the only person who has not recognized at all his own words after they had gone the rounds. Let us learn the virtue of accuracy. Inaccuracy is lying!
Daily Comfort - December 3
Public domain content taken from Devotional Writings by J.R. Miller.