Just Ask!

Posted By: Dieuner Joseph | Tuesday, March 19, 2019


When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” Matthew 16:13

Social media is an excellent tool for connecting people across the globe. Through social media, people in remote places can learn the happenings in the world and not feel alienated. They can communicate with others, be entertained, and learn about things of interest to them without having to leave the comfort of their homes.

There are, however, aspects of social media that are sinister. Many individuals use social media to promote racist ideology and vilify those they choose to hate for one reason or another. Others use social media to spread rumors and gossips that can damage the reputation of their victims.

From 1989 until 1994, comedian and talk show host Arsenio Hall used to start his late night show with a rumor to see the way people would react. And though he would admit that his announcement is a false rumor, many of his fans would still talk about as if it was true. Arsenio Hall proved that before we cosign other people’s speculations, we should ask whether or not it is true.

In today’s text, Jesus enters the region of Caesarea Philippi. Apparently, there were many speculations and rumors about Jesus. Some people thought he was demon-possessed. Others speculated he was a prophet or the second coming of Elijah. Instead of assuming what the disciples thought about him, he just asked them: “who do people say the Son of Man is?” After a variety of answers, he pressed them further and asked: “Who do you say I am?”

Jesus did not want to assume or speculate. He had heard the rumors and wanted to know if the disciples were influenced by the rumors so he can correct their perspective. By asking them the question, he was given them an opportunity to be transparent with him. Asking the question also sets the stage for addressing any gossip or innuendos before they can disrupt the relationship dynamic between him and his disciples.

From this text, Jesus teaches us several valuable lessons. First, we should not assume we know what other people think or say about us. An assumption is seldom factual and is based on incomplete knowledge and misleading information. It can disrupt relationships and cause irreparable damage. Instead of assuming, just ask!

Some people get angry at others because of what someone else says they said. They don’t take the time to fact-check their source for the sake of clarity and transparency. People with spiritual integrity check their sources to make sure they are not being misinformed and led astray.

Throughout his ministry, Jesus tried to discouraged misinformation and rumors so people can know the truth and be set free from spiritual ignorance. During his Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5, he told the crowd, “you have heard it said….but I tell you.” He wanted to dispel misinterpretation and half-truths about the Law by telling them precisely what the Old Testament scriptures meant to say.

Second, we should be careful about the way we talk about other people. A careless joke, an innocent rumor can cause severe damage to a person’s reputation. Some people have been denied job opportunities or promotions because of gossips or rumors. During my first year in college, a couple of my professors readily admitted they didn’t think I belong in their classroom because I was black. They were assuming that something was wrong with my ethnicity because of false and racist information they’ve been fed throughout their lives. I transferred from that school and went to another school where I felt respected and validated.

When we take the time to ask people the information we want to know about them it shows respect and demonstrates our own spiritual integrity. Unless you and I have actual evidence that a person said or did something, we should not go around sharing the information with others as if it is a fact. Everyone deserves the courtesy of knowing their name and reputation are not being sullied based on misinformation.

Prayer- Blessed Lord, please teach us to bridle our tongues so we can live with spiritual integrity in our relationship with others.

About The Author

Rev. Dieuner Joseph is a dynamic leader, disciple Maker, Writer, Talk Show host, and Spiritual counselor. Reverend Joseph is the founder of the Imani Temple Baptist Church and the Disciple Maker Ministry. He is a skilled Bible teacher who carefully and responsibly exegete the Scriptures to make them relevant to today’s readers. Through his Blog and weekly Christian magazine- The Wednesday Word- he seeks to provide Bible based instructions for dealing with the socio-political issues of today.

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