What if you were being lied to? Would you want to know? We’re going to talk in this episode about listening to the true story, found in the Bible so that we’re able to spot the false narratives of the world.

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Bible Passage: John 18:1-11 NASB

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Music: Cade Popkin Music 

One Word Against the Other

(Here’s an article which includes the story I told about my son, lying about the neighbor boys.)

When my boys were little, they used to have “wars” in the woods with the other neighbor boys. There were alliances, ambushes, forts, and planned attacks. I figured it was all fun and games until the day my four-year-old told me that some of the big boys shot at him.

Now, we’re talking airsoft guns, and he didn’t have any welts on him, but still, I was alarmed. “They shot at you? How close were they? Were you wearing eye protection?” He told me that no, the boys just came up and shot at him. I immediately picked up the phone and called my neighbor – we’ll call him “Mike”.

“Mike,” I said. Your boys shot at Cade, while he was back in the woods! We cannot have this. He’s only four…” So Mike said he would talk to his boys. The doorbell rang a little later, but when I went to the door, the boys said, “Mrs. Popkin, uh… we’re sorry, but we didn’t shoot Cade.”

What? They weren’t here to apologize? When they left, I immediately called Mike back and said, “Your boys just left but I want you to know they did not apologize.”

He calmly replied that yes, the boys had denied my accusation with him, too. “But Shannon,” he said, “It’s one word against the other and I believe my boys. I don’t think they shot your son.”

I couldn’t believe it! My preschooler had been in the line of fire without eye protection, and this man was defending the shooters? I was outraged. With fierce resolve, I called my boys in and said, “Okay, we have a new rule. From now on whenever you see those boys with their airsoft guns, you come home immediately, okay? We cannot trust those boys! I mean, they shot at you, right, Cade?”

The look on Cade’s face surprised me. He began to shift nervously from one leg to the other. He sucked on his fingers and started mumbling, “Uhhh…. welll….”

“Cade!” I gasped. “They did, shoot at you, right? That’s what you told me…”

But again, he said, “Uhh… well….” And that’s when I knew. I didn’t have the right story. The boys were innocent, and my son was the one who needed to do some apologizing—which you can be sure he did.

In the True Story of the Arrest episode last time, Lindsay Schott and I talked about the false narratives. Our world is full of them. They are these made-up stories, that might seem intuitively true, but they are not. Stories about God and about us, and about who we should trust. And unless we hear the true story, we are sure to believe a lie.

So let me ask again: If you’re being lied to do you want to know about it? My neighbor was right. There were two stories here, and I was believing the wrong one. But in order to see the truth, I had to put the two stories side by side. If I only listened to my lying preschooler, I was never going to find the truth.

Worldview

Whenever you hear the word, “worldview”, please know that you’re most likely hearing about false narratives and true ones. Jeff Myers says that worldview is “a pattern of ideas, beliefs, convictions, and habits that help us make sense of God, the world, and our relationship to God and the world.”

So our worldview is the story we tell ourselves to make sense of the world we’re part of. Worldview is a storytelling word. And so very many people are telling themselves a story that is rooted in a lie, or a false narrative.

So how can we make sure we have the story straight? Well, just like in the story with my son, we first have to consider we might be believing a lie. And then we have to put our story next to the true story—which I hope you believe is the Bible. But even if you don’t yet believe the Bible, I would challenge you to read the stories and lay them next to the story you’re telling. See which one makes more sense. Many times, when we just take a moment to think about the narratives we’re telling ourselves, it doesn’t take much to be convinced that we’re believing a lie.

Revealing False Narratives in the Story of the Arrest

I hope you’ve had a chance to download my Live Like It’s True Workbook, which includes a “False Narrative Watchlist”. It’s a list of false narratives that are common in the world. And one of the sections of the True Story Worksheet has you write down, on one side, “Here’s what this particular story teaches about God, the world, human nature, what’s important, and the future.” And over on the other side, here’s what the world teaches overtly or the enemy teaches covertly about these things.

It’s so helpful to put them side by side, and ask, “How does this story correct the false narratives of the world?” Both stories can’t be true, right?

We’re able to spot the false narratives of the world, by reading the true story found in the Bible. That’s what we were doing, toward the end of the conversation I had with Lindsay Schott and I just wanted to follow up on a few more thoughts. I won’t take time to go back and review what we talked about, but here are some of the ways this story shines a light on false narratives.

For instance:

  • The world says that God’s obviously out of control of what’s happening. I mean look at the bad things that are happening. Clearly, God is not in control.
  • But here in this scene, the bad thing is happening, but Jesus is the one in control. He isn’t a passive victim. He’s actively taking charge and walking toward the most horrific murder scene in the history of the world.
  • The world says, if God is in control, and this bad thing happened, then that means he isn’t good.
  • But look at this story. God is in control and something terrible is happening. And yet the scene of the cross is very, very good.
  • The world says you don’t really have to choose. You can believe Jesus and a whole bunch of other things that you don’t find in the Bible or on Jesus’s lips.
  • But this story shows that you have to choose a side. Judas is over on the side with the soldiers who want to kill Jesus. And the disciples are loyal to Jesus. Now they aren’t perfectly loyal. We’re going to see Peter waver. But they have chosen Jesus’s side.

In a moment I’m going to retell this story, but I hope that you’ll take some time for yourself in John 18:1-11, to really get to know this story and allow it to challenge, perhaps, some of the false narratives that you’ve been believing.

When you know the true story, it helps reveal the false story.

When you know the true story, it helps reveal the false story. Click To Tweet

Retelling the Story

It was probably after midnight when Jesus brought his disciples to the garden to pray. Judas knew the spot since they went there often. And that’s where he brought a whole army of Roman soldiers – probably at least 200 men, along with the temple guard. They came with their lanterns and torches, and swords flashing in the moonlight.

But there was no hunt. Jesus didn’t hide. Instead, he stepped out to greet them, asking, “Who are you looking for?”

There was Jesus standing with his eleven disciples, and on the other side—with the soldiers who had come to make the arrest—was Judas. The lines have been drawn, and Judas is on the side of Jesus’s enemies.

When Jesus asked who they were looking for, they told him, “We’re looking for Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said, “I am,” and there must have been supernatural power in his voice when he said it, because all of those soldiers fell back, onto the ground, toppling over each other.

Jesus asked again, “Who are you looking for?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”

He said, “If it’s me you’re looking for, why don’t you let my friends go?” Jesus is the good shepherd, watching out for his sheep. But then one of those “sheep”, Peter, decides it’s time to rise up and protect the shepherd. He pulls out his sword and slices off the ear of the high priest’s servant, named Malchus–who might have been the only guy without a weapon. Nice work, Peter.

Jesus tells him, “Peter, put your sword away. Am I not to drink the cup the Father has given me?” Jesus is saying, “Fighting these soldiers isn’t what the Father has asked me to do. He’s asked me to lay my life down and give it up, and that’s what I’m going to do.”

So this is a story, not the story of a weak victim. This is a hero with limitless power, laying his life down. Do you wonder why? Come back for the next part of the story, where we’ll talk about the True Story in the Dark.

Share the Story

Have you committed to sharing this with someone else this week? One type of connecting point for this story is when things feel out of control and it feels like evil is winning. Maybe someone is upset because it looks like someone got away with someone, or some legislation that they totally disagree with and their attitude is, “What is the world coming to?”

And you can say, you know there’s this story in the Bible where it looked like the darkness was winning. It’s the story of when Judas betrayed Jesus and he was arrested. It’s part of the Easter story… Do you know that part?”

Next Time: The True Story in the Dark

We’ll be back next Wednesday for the True Story in the Dark with Asheritah Ciuciu. If you’ve joined Asheritah on her Prayers of Rest podcast, you know that she is an amazing Bible teacher, and has such a sweet, but wise, calming presence. She’s the perfect guest to help us prepare for Good Friday, with a somber, but hopeful heart. I hope you’ll be able to join us.


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  • False Narrative Watchlist
  • “Awakening to the False Narratives”
  • Four Reasons Journaling Prompt
  • Storytelling Content Podcast Directory

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