Humans are imperfect. We have accidents; we make mistakes; we believe and say things that later turn out to be wrong.

We say things we don't mean; we mean things we don't say.

This is all part of our human imperfection, yes, but some people seem to use that imperfection as an excuse. If you explicitly quote them and point out a contradiction, they insist they obviously didn't mean that or say things that don't actually address what's under discussion, often flipping things to claim what you've been saying all along, as if they've been the ones saying it and you haven't, and often providing evidence that doesn't actually prove your point.

Some folks make such accidents because they don't actually understand how words work together, and it's tempting to give folks the benefit of the doubt…and the benefit of the doubt…and the benefit of the doubt…

But I keep remembering Matthew 10:16 and Genesis 3:1 and John 8:44 and Matthew 7:16.

When Satan lied to Eve, it was subtly—and he actually started with a question, "Did God really say…?" and then essentially fed her what would appeal to her, what she would want to hear.

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

Genesis 3:4–5, KJV

It's subtle.

And it started out with something that wasn't even untrue. It was just a question.

We as Christians are told to be sly as serpents (Matthew 10:16), so obviously we're not to shun subtle communication. We're to use it.

But to use it, we have to understand it and be able to recognize it.

And far too often, we are pressured—by others or by our own consciences—to ignore things that signal fruits in others, while they take things like a problematic typo (that we apologize for and seek to avoid) as evidence that something's wrong with us. Or if we actually do point out or respond to someone's fruits, we're being "unChristian" or "unloving" (and the verses referenced don't actually say what those making the accusations claim they say).

There are tactics of communication, ways to make things insidious and to hide arguments and to push points on folks' minds while burying them so they're less likely to be consciously noticed. Such people often—but not always—also misuse words, sometimes only in ever-so-slightly wrong ways. Sometimes it's just "wrong" in that the phrasing has particular implications that actually sabotage the point rather than support it.

(Note that it's entirely possible to actually argue against something by ostensibly arguing for it.)

I'm seriously considering pointing out an explicit example of what I'm talking about, with an overall true and solid post I happened across that has some extremely troubling tidbits, with how the logic fallacies are worked in and with what certain phrasing indicates. I want to think it's an accident, but the structure and phrasing isn't something that can naturally happen on accident.

And yet, if I point it out, I know I'll get heckled and my trustworthiness questioned over my own imperfections and the way I make allowances for multiple possible answers—which will be misinterpreted by some as me saying "This is what the Bible is saying here!" when what I'm actually saying is "This could be what the Bible is saying here".

That twisting of words seems common, among folks who use certain communication tactics and are confronted on it…enough so that, perhaps, using those tactics at all might be an indicator.

And there are multiple verses in Scripture indicating that we as Christians are supposed to watch for those subtle clues…so are even well-intended sheep of Christ so quick to dismiss such attention as "unChristian"? Perhaps such acknowledged attention to nuance is a sign of trustworthiness, even when it's a nuance that says, "Oh, you're right. I did say X. Oops! Not what I meant!"

And perhaps folks slipping logical fallacies, misused words, and outright falsehoods into an otherwise true discussion is a signal that they aren't trustworthy.