Millennial Monday: False prophets and ‘fake news’
If your social media feed looks anything like mine, I’m sure you’ve see the “Share if you…” posts all too often.
Or if you are in the middle of a historical time, like Oklahoma is with the teacher walkout and all that goes along with it, you’ve seen social media posts go viral both for and opposing the cause. These posts have thousands of shares, likes and comments within hours of being posted.
If you are unfamiliar, teachers (and many from all professions) in Oklahoma began a walkout last week, demanding fully funded education and a competitive pay rate with other states in our region.
Teachers—the people who taught both you and me how to read and write, the people who work well into the evening and most weekends in order to make sure their students have the best chance at succeeding. Their cause has flooded the front pages and opening segments in the news across the country.
Their profession is an important one. Each day as they step into their place of work they have a hand in molding the minds of the future of our state, country and world. They, along with their students are important and should be valued and treated as such.
I know another important man that was called the Great Teacher. Jesus in the flesh, our ultimate Teacher. In His time on earth He equipped people to tell others about the Good News of his Gospel, “in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
The Gospel message is simple one, but much like the news we consume daily, it gets twisted by false prophets in the form of “fake news.” I’m here to challenge you to beware of said fake news and false prophets.
As someone who has and currently works in the field of social media, and a consumer of social media, this is something that I see all too often.
More often than not, I want to give a virtual, cyber shake to the people with whom I am friends and ask them, “Did you check the source before you shared that?” or “Did you read the entire article, the page from which it was posted, etc.?”
My virtual, cyber shake also goes for people who spout the first thing they saw on Facebook as if it were absolute truth. I have two words for everyone who DOESN’T think twice before engaging in such activities: Be better.
This was a problem in Jesus’ time as well. He warns against false prophets repeatedly in his word.
Jeremiah 23:16 says, “This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD.”
Matthew 24:23-25 says, “At that time, if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders that would deceive even the elect, if that were possible. See, I have told you in advance.”
And 2 Timothy 4:3-5 says, “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”
In ALL things, God calls us to be vigilant and aware of the false prophets and “fake news” that others around us constantly consume and regurgitate. We are called to be not of this world, and that means we are held to a higher standard.
So I say to you fellow believer, study the Word. The phrase “the best defense is a good offense” is an age-old phrase that is applicable to many of life’s situations, but most assuredly when it comes to knowing how to spot a false prophet or “fake news.”
If you know God’s Word and promises front and back, false prophet’s words hold no ground with you. The same goes for how you consume information on a daily basis. I encourage you to think twice before regurgitating something you read on social media or overheard someone say.
Do your own research and form your own offense to the false prophets of the world. Form your own thoughts. I have found many times, that it is far more damaging to the kingdom of God to blindly “like and share” what the world tells us is true, than it is beneficial.