Earlier in November, writer Ben Casnocha wrote this on his blog:
Someone once told me that there is nowhere we are more honest than the search box. We don’t lie to Google. Period. We type in what we’re thinking — good, bad, and ugly. There’s probably no piece of information that would better show what’s on someone’s mind than their stream of searches.
We don’t lie to Google. Nowhere is this more evident than in a handy feature Google uses in its search box called auto-complete. You start typing, and Google begins making suggestions on how to complete your search. If you’re like me, maybe you ignore these suggestions, but paying attention to them yields some interesting results.
Google simply makes suggestions based on the most popular search terms to follow the words you or I enter. Sometimes, the feature is useful, but, other times, we get a peek into the collective minds of others using Google. We see the brazen bluntness with which we search. Sometimes we see the ridiculous questions on our collective minds. Other times, we’re left scratching our heads, asking, “Wait, those are the most popular search terms for those words?”
Why Do We Trust Google More Than God?
We are always honest with Google. It may be the anonymity. It may be the literal nature of search engines. Regardless the reason, we are more forthright with a search engine than we often are with others, with ourselves, and with God. However much we try, though, while we may be able to fool others and ourselves, we cannot fool God. Let’s look at a couple examples of people doing this in the Bible.
- Adam & Eve. In Genesis 3, God doesn’t give Adam and Even the answer they want regarding the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, so Eve allows herself to be persuaded by the serpent. Adam allows himself to be persuaded by Eve, and, in the end, they seek to blame God for their own error by verses 11-13.
- King David. In II Samuel 11, David commits adultery with Bathsheba, but that’s just a couple verses of the story. The rest of chapter 11 deals with David trying to cover his tracks, to the point, in verses 16-17, of conspiring to murder Bathsheba’s husband Uriah. He sinks deeper into sin to avoid others learning of his initial sin.
- Ananias & Sapphira. In Acts 5, this pair seek to look as impressive as the Christians in Acts 2:44-45 and 4:32-37 who give up much, if not all, to share with the brethren. Ananias and Sapphira try to make themselves look more generous than they really are, but their lies find them out.
We can turn to the anonymity of Google to find justification or vindication for almost anything we want. Anything we want to believe, justify, or desire – there’s a site for it. We may be afraid that God won’t give us the answer we want to hear. We may feel like others will judge us if they know about our struggles or sins. We may try to feel better about ourselves by making ourselves look better to others. We wear these façades and shroud ourselves in subtle deceptions to make ourselves more tolerable to ourselves and to others. In the end, though, the only ones we end up fooling are ourselves.
Honesty with Ourselves, Others, and God
This is not a lesson about the dangers of the Internet or the evils of Google. Google is a collection of algorithms, and the Internet is composed of writings, images, and other media created by people. They are what they are. Rather, this is a lesson about trust. It’s about being honest with ourselves and the challenges we face, relying on our brothers and sisters to carry us through difficult times, and ultimately trusting in God to deliver us from temptation and forgive us for our transgressions.
- King David. Psalms 3, 6, 11, 12, 19, 23, 25, 39, 51 – these and many more illustrates David’s complete trust in God’s word, His protection, and His forgiveness. Psalms 19 celebrates God’s word. Psalm 51 is a prayer for forgiveness after that sin with Bathsheba, and he demonstrates total submission and vulnerability before God. For this trust, God calls David a man after His own heart.
- Job. Throughout his book, Job is very honest with God and with himself. Job stays true to himself regardless of his wife’s or friend’s opinions. They judge him, but he knows his heart, and Job 31 stands as an example of self-accountability. He knows his heart. He knows how he treats others. Therefore, he can stand before God unspotted.
- Jesus. Where Adam and Eve reject God’s answer, Jesus submits in Matthew 26:36-42 when He says, “not as I will, but as You will.” His life of service culminates in an ultimate act of trust in God in His willing sacrifice on the cross. He knows God will deliver Him from death.
I Peter 5:6-7 exhorts us to humble ourselves and open up to our God. He cares for us more than any search engine ever can. Hebrews 4:15-16 assures us that our Lord relates to our challenges and shortcomings, and He is willing to lift us up if we only come to Him. Furthermore, Romans 15:1 encourages us to bear each other’s burdens. Galatians 6:1-2 reiterates this and tells us to be gentle with one another during these trials. We have a God willing to help us. We have brothers and sisters willing to help us, but we have to be honest with them and ourselves before we can heal.
God’s word will not always have the answers we want. We can find those answers all around us. It does, however, give us the answers we need. We all have faults. We all have challenges. We need to be honest with ourselves about those shortcomings so we can be honest with our brothers and sisters about them. We may fear judgmental attitudes. We may fear harsh treatment, but, if we love each other the way our God loves us, then we will bear each other up in patience and kindness. We should feel as open with each other and with God as we do with Google. Only then, can we truly begin to build the type of spiritual relationships we should have with one another.