As I took the stand to testify I could feel my heart begin to race. While it was merely a custody hearing, I felt like I had been dropped in to an episode of Law and Order as the bailiff swore me in.
The attorney that had requested that I come before the court asked me a few brief questions that brought out my pastoral knowledge pertinent to the hearing. When she was finished, the judge turned to the other side of the room. There, tapping a pencil, wasn’t a lawyer, but the father of the children in question; representing himself. He immediately went on the attack; firing question after question, seeking to discredit my testimony by discrediting me. In the end, the judge saw through his tactics and it was he that lost all credibility.
Attacking someone’s credibility as a witness is a long time known strategy for courtroom attorneys because when someone loses credibility, they stop being listened to.
Have you lost your credibility?
Who can deny that the toxicity levels on Facebook have gone through the roof in the last two years? Every day there’s a new #hashtag trending telling us what we’re to be angry about today. Political articles and memes from the left and right decimate our feeds as they’re shared and re-shared; not for the sake of putting ideas out there, but for putting people in their place. But, here’s the truth:
We lose credibility when we never disagree with our own political party or leadership. No one is right all the time.
We lose credibility when we can never acknowledge someone else’s valid point from the opposite end of the ideological spectrum.
We lose credibility when we lump people we disagree with behind the worst representative of their movement.
We must remember that people believe what they believe for a reason. Do we care enough to take the time to understand their reasoning? Mocking and berating them via the latest article or meme isn’t changing anyone’s mind. So, why add to the noise?
Lastly, If you’re a follower of Jesus, we lose credibility when we say we’ve been changed by the love of Jesus, but then that love is not displayed in our posts. We gave up our right to be condescending jerks when we knelt at the cross. Yes, let’s embrace free speech, but let it be free speech bathed in love.