Saturday, November 08, 2008

Spin... - Black

Spin... The world in which I grew up generally used the word spin to convey the idea of turning around, twisting, or whirling about. As a kid I’d spin round on my toes and fall down dizzy, my head–or at least the perceptions in my brain–spinning. I’d spin the wheels of my toy car or locomotive, or my bike. I’d spin my humming top, or whip my spinning top till it spun fast and steady. I knew what it was to spin. More abstract understandings and uses of the word came to me years later.

Still, as a kid, sometimes I’d try to fib my way out of trouble for some misdemeanour, and soon learned that doesn’t pay, and that "honesty is the best policy." However, the honest approach also resulted in trouble when I deserved it. And so, honesty morphed into ploys to tell the truth in such a way as to make the deed appear not quite so bad after all, or to spread the blame around, in hope of mitigating my own failure (and prospective punishment!). That was spin, although I didn’t know it.

The term "spinning a yarn"– making up stories, whether for entertainment, or for political or commercial ends, comes from the old process of spinning clumps of fibre, like wool or cotton, into yarn. Adults, kids, advertisers, public servants, and politicians, engage in spin all the time. It’s the spin doctor’s job to put the ‘correct spin’ on things; make their clients look good and their clients’ opponents look bad.

Now that both Canada and the USA have elected their respective federal governments, the question arises whether the political spinning of the past months on either side of the border will end? Will spin doctors be out of a job? Not a chance. As a breed they’re surely here to stay. Why? Because truth exists, and the truth in pure form will either commend or condemn. Decisions will be made and situations handled well or less well. Some citizens will benefit, while others won’t. To survive, those in office have to look good and appear to be doing well. Political parties not in office try to make themselves look good by making those in office look bad. Hence, spinning is here to stay.

Our putting the best spin on our own life’s conduct and condition doesn’t fool our Heavenly Father one little bit. Truth exists. Each fact and facet of our lives is fully known to Him. He is completely cognizant and understanding of every nuance of our emotions, motivations, and thoughts. No matter how relatively good or bad we may be compared to other human beings, there’s sufficient to condemn and little to commend us when viewed in the white light of His holy and righteous character. But, His truth sets us free from condemnation and guilt.

Remember how, as parents, we were glad when our children ‘fessed up, telling the truth of some disobedience they’d committed or careless action made? The process of reconciliation and moving on from the failure could then begin. When we stop spinning, our relationship with God our Heavenly Father can really begin. Israel’s King David experienced the relief of freedom from spin (Psalm 32:5 NIV): Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD"– and you forgave the guilt of my sin.

Peter Black

(This piece previously published in The Watford Guide-Advocate – November 6, 2008).

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