Just last night, the office of special counsel Robert Mueller disputed Buzzfeed's breaking news report from yesterday that President Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress. The special counsel's office said the story was "not accurate," but Buzzfeed stands by their reporting. Who's telling the truth?
Truth today is so volatile. Lying and fraud seem to have become second nature in our culture, and the internet makes it easy. How can we know what/who the reliable sources of information are? Jesus Christ teaches us this lesson in Matthew 7: "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."
Fruits, not roots.
Internet shame culture judges people by things they did and said years ago rather than by who they are today. Christ would have us discern truth by looking at actions and consequences, not history. The same applies when seeking spiritual truths. Analyze how a teaching or practice changes you. If it moves you to do good, brings you closer to Heavenly Father, makes your actions more Christlike, inspires, uplifts, enlightens, it is of God.
In my religion class this week, our professor drew our attention to the biblical rule of threes. Many, many, many times in the bible people, teachings, and phenomena will occur in sets of three. In Hebrew, saying something multiple times is an intensifier, like "holy holy is the Lord." But repeating something three times is the ultimate intensifier. "Wo, wo wo unto Jerusalem" is equivalent to saying Jerusalem is the woest. The most wo. This is like if Little Ceasar's "Extra Most Bestest" pizza was just called "pizza pizza pizza."
In Moses 1, after Satan tempts Moses to doubt himself and worship the devil, Moses tells Satan three times (in verses 16, 18, and 20 for those playing along at home) to depart. The "extra most bestest" of get-out-of-heres. But here's the twist: it doesn't work. Not until Moses commands the devil to leave in the name of the only begotten does Satan leave him alone.
What does this teach us? Invoking Christ's name and authority was more powerful than the extra-most-bestest command Moses could come up with on his own. This is one more bullet point on the long list of scriptural cases where man's best efforts prove to be futile until Christ's power is added into the mix. This same chapter also teaches us that we are great, mighty children of our Heavenly Father with infinite potential - but at the same time, we are nothing without our older brother, Jesus Christ.