In 1 Corinthians 7: 1 the apostle Paul states "Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman." This is a bizarre statement especially if it is shorn of its context and not viewed within the entire corpus of the Bible. And yet entire theological systems have been built upon the concept and the idea of love between man and woman condemned or at least disparaged. St. Jerome was reputed to have stated that the form of a woman was repulsive and disgusting. The fact that this point of view does not fit the Biblical narrative at all is discounted or ignored.
I offer this example as representative of something we call "cherry picking." Finding a statement and pulling it out of context to either discredit someone or to substantiate our belief system. If you find a statement shared and repeated over and over by people who oppose the one who made the statement be aware that you may be viewing an example of this very "cherry picking."
We are most vulnerable to the toxicity of "cherry picking" when we don't know the field or have a scant knowledge of the topic. Ignorance is fertile soil for planting the seeds of slander and character assassination. This tendency is also seen in the fervent search for damning material regardless of date, context or accuracy.
Something that follows the "cherry picking" is the willingness to believe scandalous purported statements without checking to see if they are true. I don't know how many quotes I have seen recently on FB that the person never said. It is so easy to check up on it and verify whether there is any chance the person said it. What is so horrifying about all this, is that the body of believers, who are called to "cast down the accuser of the brethren," have become his greatest fighting force.
Our biggest enemy right now is not Trump, Bill Gates or Dr. Fauci. The gifts of the Spirit were given so that we could edify, exhort and comfort. I have to remind myself of this all the time.
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