As a kid, I was pretty gullible. Evidently, I was born in a cabbage patch, at least that is what my siblings told me. As the youngest of four children in my family, I was told many such stories. It’s a rite of passage, along with running to tattle on said older siblings.
I am sure you could say the same, because all children are gullible due to their natural immaturity. They tend to easily believe in Santa Claus and monsters under the bed. What is true of physical immaturity can also be true spiritually.
For the Christian, we are not to remain immature in faith and knowledge of God’s Word. As the apostle Peter taught, “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” (2 Peter 3:18). We are to move from spiritual milk to the solid food of the Word (see Hebrews 5:11-14).
We have an enemy who is whispering half-truths and outright lies in our ears on a daily basis (kinda like my siblings who tried to trick me). It’s through the pruning process and growing up in faith through our Helper, the Holy Spirit, who lives in every believer, that we learn to discern the voice of the enemy, Satan and his henchmen (see Ephesians 6:12-13), not the DNC or the RNC. We are in every way to grow up into Christlikeness, be imitators of God, and carry the good news of Jesus Christ to the world.
We are living in a boiling pot of controversies that Satan is stirring up to create chaos and division. The really bad thing is how the Church is helping the enemy out. I will confess to you that I have at times been used to advance the agenda of the ultimate conspiracy theorist ever.
We are all intrigued by conspiracy theories. Back in 1991, I remember watching the film, JFK, directed by Oliver Stone. Kevin Costner played the role of real life New Orleans District Attorney, Jim Garrison which portrayed this man’s obsession with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. For many years I actually believed it, hook, line and sinker (I was much younger then). As I became a more reasonable adult, I understood that it was malarkey, but Jim Garrison and Oliver Stone did an excellent job of continuing to spin the web of “the story that never went away”.
Today we are being tempted to believe various kinds of conspiracies, all centered around the idea that events happening are moving us towards a one world government by the deep state or a myriad of other beliefs. In this divided political climate we can have skewed views on the pandemic, economic shutdown, rioting, protests, and wearing masks or not. Conspiracy theories have become a spoon in the pot for the enemy to stir up divisions galore, and yes, even within the church.
As a servant of and ambassador for Christ, my purpose here is to share the gospel, and to seek the welfare of the city and country I live in. Is what I post and share on social media accomplishing this purpose? How then do I promote truth in this culture? It is critically important that I speak or share the truth, in love.
Consider the source
When we read an article or a book, watch a documentary, or listen to the news, how can we test the reliability of a source? In the book, “Write Better,” author and former editor of InterVarsity Press, Andrew LePeau, gives some good guidelines. Writers and reporters should be researching and checking multiple reliable resources, unfortunately many have abandoned these practices.
- Have been recognized as trustworthy by a broad range of people—not just a narrow group
- Have been recognized as trustworthy for a long time—for decades or centuries, not just years
- Are accountable to others for their work—rather than being independent”
These are very high standards. Most national news programs are not straightforward in their reporting by checking and verifying their sources, in fact, they are more along the lines of commentary and opinion depending upon their political leanings. Understanding this helps us to process the information accordingly. Medical opinions should come from trusted doctors, not from Laura Ingraham on Fox News or Chris Cuomo on CNN, and certainly not from Aunt Susie’s friend’s son who heard it from his girlfriend’s best friend on Facebook.
Posts on Facebook and Twitter require discernment and a great deal of discipline. When sharing, take a deep breath, and count to three with the following questions from Socrates as a filter for what to share and not to share:
- Is it true?
- Is it kind?
- Is it necessary (or helpful)?
Am I sharing information that is true? If I can pass the first test, speaking the truth, then I need to employ speaking that truth in love. Above all, am I honoring God when I share something or retweet or tweet? I will give an account for “every careless word,” (Matthew 12:26) I speak. I’m letting that one sink in for a minute.
When I perpetuate unproven theories, I may be spreading lies and sometimes slander. I need to remind myself that Satan is the father of lies.
Consider The Source
Our ultimate Source and example for truth is Jesus, “the way, the truth, and the life,” (John 14:6). We are called to be truth tellers, bearing witness of the better and only Way that leads to eternal life.
When I mess up, I am always glad that I can confess, find forgiveness and be cleansed from all sin.
By the way, I wasn’t born in a cabbage patch. The thing is, I ran to my mom and she told me the truth. Let’s run to our heavenly Father, because He will always lead us to the truth.