On Misrepresentation

By Wallace H. Little

Lately, I have read more than several articles where one charges a brother in Christ with “misrepresentation.” A check of several dictionaries shows me that generally, the word may either mean an accidental erroneous representing of the position of another, or a deliberate falsification of it. It takes little reading to conclude some writers are using it from that latter definition. There are a few things I would like to consider.

First, such usage constitutes a charge of lying. And like all other charges of sin, it is to be established in the mouths of two or three witnesses (2 Cor 13:1, others). I suggest it is not enough for me to conclude you have deliberately falsified my position simply because you reported it wrongly. I must know (have proof) before I can make such a charge. And since it is a matter of sin, then, God demands it be corrected. But I had better be sure. Note also, please, a slippery handling of the word “misrepresentation” and a falling back on one dictionary definition when I actually had the other in mind is no escape route. God is not mocked (Gal. 6:7), and my soul is in jeopardy by such.

Second, lacking proof my brother wilfully falsified my, position, love alone ought to keep me from even thinking it seriously. Note 1 Cor 13:5, “. . . love thinketh no evil.” Love demands I put the best, not the worst connotation on your words and conduct.

Third, we have a God-given pattern for handling personal differences; and it is distressing to see considerable evidence this is often observed more in being overlooked than followed. Check carefully the Lord’s teaching in Mt. 5′.23, 24 and Mt. 18:15-17.

My brother may indeed misrepresent me in his writing, doing it wilfully. But before I broadcast this charge, I need to do three things. One, put the best understanding of his writing I am able; two, insure that when I charge him (being backed by two or three reliable witnesses) I do so first privately; three, I have it Bible does have a great deal to say, if anyone is interested in my heart to “gain my brother.” in.reading it, on the Christian’s relationship to the poor.

Does this sound as if God is interested in our motives?

Truth Magazine XXII: 25, pp. 409-410
June 22, 1978