The Word of the Year 2016 and Why Truth Matters

“The Word of the Year 2016 is… After much discussion, debate, and research, the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2016 is post-truth – an adjective defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’.” [1]

When my friend emailed me the word of the year I thought of the role emotions have played in our country this last year. Sadly, I had to agree, “post-truth” seems to define 2016 and the beginning of 2017.

The uproar over recent issues reminded me of the nursery story “The Big Bad Wolf and the Seven Goats.” You may recall this story is about a mother goat that had to leave her seven kids while she traveled to town. She warned her children not to open the bolted door to the wolf while she was away.

“How will we know it’s the wolf?” the youngest asked.

“He speaks in a gruff voice, not a soft one like mine. His fur is dark, not white like mine,” his mother said.

The young goats foolishly engaged with the wolf telling him how they recognized his true identity. So he softened his voice and rolled in white flour. The kids eager to see their mother didn’t question his disguise. They opened the door, and, one by one, he gobbled them up.

This story warns children about predators. Today, some might use it as an example of profiling.

Photo by: Michael Kahl

People have and still wrongly discriminate against others based on skin color, socio-economic level, and religious and moral beliefs. But to call discernment bigotry or meanness is also wrong—and dangerous. Here are a few recent examples.

Showers, Urinals, and Youth

Last year when our North Carolina state legislature turned centuries of common practice into a law upholding public bathroom privacy the world erupted in outrage. Groups who’d promised to move companies or give concerts to our state reneged when common practice became law. The biological facts that had guided previous generations were seen as irrelevant.

According to, 0.3 percent of Americans identify themselves as transgender, [2] while 24% of our population is under age eighteen.[3] One in five girls is sexually abused.[4] That is why many churches don’t allow a man to be alone in a room with children in their childcare settings. Gender marked locker rooms based on biological facts protect the larger population of the vulnerable young.

Don’t we want our daughters and granddaughters to feel uneasy if a man enters their dressing rooms? Transgenders aren’t the only males who dress like women. Many convicted sexual predators cross-dressed to prey on victims.

It is wrong to bully and mistreat anyone—period. Shouldn’t our compassion include protecting women and children by asking those with male anatomy not to shower in locker rooms designated for females?

Love is not the same as tolerance.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good” (Rom. 12:9 NIV).


In a recent interview, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson asked Rep. Eric Swalwell whether abortion was taking a human life. Here is a perfect example of post-truth.

“Swalwell: She’s terminating something that she does not want, and that’s her own choice.

Carlson: OK, but do you think it’s human life?

Swalwell: Do I think—I think, at viability, a baby … should be decided by the woman. She’s the one who has to have it.” [5]

Don’t excuse yourself by saying, ‘Look, we didn’t know.’
    For God understands all hearts, and he sees you.
He who guards your soul knows you knew.
    He will repay all people as their actions deserve” (Pr. 24:12 NLT).

Immigration Ban

The 120-day restriction the Trump administration wants on immigrants from countries associated with ISIS has caused another outrage. If the government is using this window to persecute peaceful Muslims, then it is wrong. But if it is to find a way to vet peaceful immigrants and weed out terrorists, isn’t this like the mother goat trying to protect her kids?

Shouldn’t we screen groups that harbor terrorist cells more carefully than our friends? Before you allow strangers into your home don’t you want to know who they are and why they’re there? War affects innocent people. If we can find a way to separate the victims from the terrorists, won’t even the refugees and immigrants be thankful when they are welcomed in? To learn more about the proposed ban click here.

I’m sure you could add other examples, but the point is—truth sets us free and lights our way. Denying truth never provides long-term help to the suffering. The book of Judges gives the chilling account of what happens when everyone does what is right in their own eyes.

Cultures built on emotions and personal beliefs dissolve like sandcastles touched by the tides. Share on X

Personal experiences certainly influence our interpretations and opinions on how to solve real problems. But we believers know the value of truth. Jesus and His word are truth (Jn. 14:6; Ps 119:160).

The mother goat returned home and rescued the kids the wolf had devoured whole. May God rescue us from being swallowed up by a false and dangerous compassion (Pro. 12:10).

For some encouragement, click here to listen to Pastor Barry Black’s keynote at last week’s National Prayer Breakfast.

Click here to comment.



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Sometimes I link up with these great sites:

#Teaching What Is Good#w2wwordfilledwednesday, #Wedded Wednesday, #Women with Intention, #HeartEncouragement, #LivefreeThursday#Grace and Truth, #Dance with Jesus, #Moments of Hope,

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  1. M. Butler

    Excellent, Debbie! Thank you for putting rational thoughts ‘out there’!!!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you!

  2. Lisa

    You bring clarity to these matters in such a loving, truthful, and godly way. Thank you Debbie!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Lisa.

  3. Ann

    Debbie every time I see these hate-filled, angry comments on Facebook, I want to respond and you just did it perfectly in this post. Beautifully expressed!! I just pray those who are so entrenched in one way of seeing things can be open to these truths. Thank you for this excellent post.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Ann. I too am distressed by the violent talk and actions we’ve seen and the lies that are spread. I wish there was more of a call to know the truth and seek it instead of enjoying being riled up.

  4. Nancy B

    Thank you

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Nancy.

  5. Sandi B.

    Thank you , Debbie. You are a voice of reason and clarity in this noisy world.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Sandi, thank you.

  6. Marilyn Couch

    Debbie, you have a way of not
    being controversial, but showing
    both sides. May we all meet at the Cross & pray for one another. The Lord knows & that’s Who matters. Marilyn

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Marilyn.

  7. Dawn

    Thanks for sharing this. I think with all the “fake news” of late, we all are more on guard to discover the truth.
    I was glad for Tucker confronting the obvious lie. We can’t “talk away” or “think away” life, no matter our justifications.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Dawn, our culture reminds me of another children’s story, “The Emperor Has No Clothes.” Remember the people were intimidated by those who were sophisticated and claimed to know more so they pretend they saw things the big mouths claimed. We need the child that will speak up and say what really is.

  8. Frank

    Debbie, thanks for providing sane, succinct, and Christian perspectives to pressing issues of the day. With all the yelling back and forth today, Christians often loose sight of of the fact our God is not one of confusion or ambiguity.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Frank. That is a very good point. We can just as easily be mastered by lies as anyone else.

  9. Beth

    I’ve never heard that story of the goats. It illustrates a lot of what we are dealing with in our country for sure, Debbie! I agree wholeheartedly with what you’ve said, but it’s gotten me to thinking about this from the other side as well. It’s so difficult to convince people that their “personal beliefs” are not based on truth, but rather emotion. I see this play out in the couples I minister to and coach as well. They are so blinded by their emotions and personal perspectives that they can’t make a move out of the gridlock they are experiencing. It feels hopeless at times, but that too is a lie! Since we have a Lord who is working in every situation that feels stronger than we are. Fits perfectly with my reading today in Psalm 18:16-19. God is our support and deliverer in these overwhelming times. Thanks for revealing the truths we need to embrace and rest in!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Beth, you’ve provided examples of how our emotions can distort our perspective in personal relationships with people we love. Our emotions are servants when they are used properly, but they are terrible masters. Thanks so much for adding to the discussion.

  10. Michele Morin

    I’ve been pondering the implications of the word of the year as well, Deb. You’re so right — there are far reaching effects in a society that is not basing decisions on THE Truth.

    • Debbie Wilson

      I’d love to hear you musing, Michele. You have great thoughts.

  11. Leslie

    Debbie, Thank you for addressing these issues and pointing back to truth. As a country, if we could calm down and quit running on the tides of so much emotion we would be going in a better direction. But without truth, it’s not going in the right direction at all. Thank you for being a voice of reason.

    • Debbie Wilson

      I agree, Leslie. Thanks for dropping by.

  12. Donna Reidland

    “Post-truth” … What a statement about the condition of our nation! It would all be even more heart-breaking if we didn’t know that God is in control. I’m pinning this on my “posts worth reading board.” Blessings!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Donna. And you are so right. Knowing our times are in His hands gives me great hope and comfort.

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