The meaning of an event depends upon the context. The facts before and after an event can greatly affect the meaning. A string of events relate to one-another to form a story: the meaning of the event comes from the story. Where you begin and end a story matter. What facts you admit and what you reject matter.
A section of Proverbs 18 speaks to this issue:
13 If one gives an answer before he hears,
it is his folly and shame.
14 A man’s spirit will endure sickness,
but a crushed spirit who can bear?
15 An intelligent heart acquires knowledge,
and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
16 A man’s gift makes room for him
and brings him before the great.
17 The one who states his case first seems right,
until the other comes and examines him.
We often do not know all the facts, and so we judge falsely. And often such false judge can be wicked a cruel. A recent example form social media demonstrates such cruelty. A man was videotaped shaving on a New Jersey. The effect of the video was to mock the man. However, once we understand the context, the cruelty of the mocking becomes apparent:
The truth, Torres said, is that the video captured him at a vulnerable moment. He had been homeless and staying in a shelter in New York City. He’d reached out to his family for help. A brother gave him money for a train ticket, which he was using to get to another brother in southern New Jersey.
Torres grabbed the Northeast Corridor train from Manhattan’s Pennsylvania Station around 7 p.m. Thursday, headed toward Trenton, New Jersey.
He said he left the shelter before having a chance to shower and clean up and wanted to look “presentable.”
“I don’t want to say that I’m homeless, let everybody know,” he said. “That’s why I was shaving.” There are many such things which are presented to us on the Internet.
We see or read or hear something and assume we understand. We judge cruelly and falsely. We use gossip and slander and accusation as weapons to prove our point. Most often we cannot and do not know the entire context. We tell ourselves and others false story.
As an attorney, I have repeatedly seen instances of one more fact changing the meaning of an accusation, a defense, a claim. On one occasion, my friend was in court prosecuting a seemingly valid and substantial claim. All was going well until the opposing party provided a document which proved that the client had already settled this seemingly valid claim.
We repeat claims, make accusations, and act as if we know and can judge, we being fools; often cruel wicked fools:
‘You shall not go about as a slanderer among your people, and you are not to act against the life of your neighbor; I am the LORD.
Leviticus 19:16 (NASB95). Think about that slander, gossip is an equivalent of murder. To spread a tale is to act against another’s life.