Google, Twitter, and some traditional news media outlets are targeting what they call fake-news sites in an attempt to refuse them access to, or accounts in, their services. Twitter is shutting down numerous accounts of people they accuse of conspiracy theories and alt-right positions. Facebook has for some time been accused of tweaking their algorithms to give preference to left-wing news media.
If ever there was a time when news organizations pretended to maintain neutrality and objetivity, it has long passed.
Christians, of all people, nurture a special place in their hearts for truth—not only biblical truth, but truth in all its aspects and facets.
- They are to speak truth to each other. This is an ancient principle among the people of God: “These are the things which you should do: speak the truth to one another; judge with truth and judgment for peace in your gates” Zech 8.16. Paul quotes this passage in Eph 4.25: “Therefore, having laid aside falsehood, each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.”
- Saints should think of themselves objectively. “For by the grace given to me I say to every one of you not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think, but to think with sober discernment, as God has distributed to each of you a measure of faith” Rom 12.3. William Backus and Marie Chapian help us to consider ourselves truthfully by examing the lies we tell ourselves, in their book, Telling Yourself the Truth.
- Christians must also be truthful about actions and consequences. “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God” 1 Cor 6.9-10. Don’t be deceived about this, Paul says. Do this, lose that. In the same letter he states, “ Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals” 1 Cor 15.33. You can’t hang around bad people and remain good. Actions have consequences and Christians must face that fact.
Jesus looked at situations and at people and spoke the truth. Watching people make their offerings in the temple, he said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the offering box than all the others” Mk 12.43. The first phrase, “I tell you the truth,” emphasizes “the authority of what he has to say” (ISBE) and points up the very nature of his saying as something that has been accurately assessed and that can be safely believed. Often, the truth of what he says, after the introduction of this phrase, contradicts the popular idea or evaluation of a situation. Jesus is countering the fake news of his day.
In the world, it’s sometimes hard to know who’s telling the truth. Are the fake-news sites really fake, or are the large companies protecting their interests? In the spiritual realm, however, it’s much easier to discern what is fake and what isn’t. Just listen to Jesus and his inspired men.
¶ I’m finishing up a book—in Portuguese, sorry!—a collection of my 2016 meditations from the website DeusConosco.com. (Deus Conosco means “God with us.”) As I work through to the end of the year, the last month’s focus is the concept of searching or seeking God and his will. Even the title of the book will come from a recent meditation, on Hebrews 11.6: The Faith that Seeks God. (It sounds better in Portuguese.)
¶ A friend in our neighborhood is having some health problems, caused, apparently, from leading a sedentary life. The body was made for movement and activity. These days we don’t even get up to change the channel on the TV. (That’s an editorial “we;” the Missus and I don’t do TV.) Our friend says he’s going to start exercising once he gets over his present problems.
¶ As necessary as bodily exercise is, spiritual exercise is even more important. It consists of prayer, meditation on, and study of, Scripture, involvement with the saints, development of the fruit of the Spirit, and carrying out of God’s mission.
“… train yourself for godliness. For ‘physical exercise has some value, but godliness is valuable in every way. It holds promise for the present life and for the life to come’” 1 Tim 4.7-8.