Especially as followers of Jesus.
Christians should have the reputation for being the most truthful people on earth. But we don’t.
Instead, whenever I’m on social media and see a tagline like, ‘This is huge, if true’ linking to a news item, (which, of course, is never true) it’s as likely to have been posted by a fellow Christian as a non-Christian.
The Rise of Fake News
Fake News has become a hot topic lately.
And no, I’m not talking about satire sites like The Onion, Lark News or The Babylon Bee. I’m talking about false stories passing themselves off as true.
Sometimes it’s by sincere people who don’t know they’re passing along questionable information. At other times it’s from intentionally fake sites with an agenda. They want to disrupt and undermine those they disagree with, so they post fake stories to bait people into passing it along.
The church is one of their targets.
And Christians keep taking the bait.
So. Many. Times.
Truth Must Be Our Highest Priority
Christians should be the last people on earth who traffic in fake news. Even unintentionally. The fact that we didn’t know it was fake is no excuse.
We need to be rigorous about our fact-checking. In our sermons and our conversations. Online and in person. The integrity of the church depends on it.
This is not a game we’re playing. When the integrity of the church gets undermined, the reliability of the gospel message gets called into question. With devastating consequences. And not just for us. There are eternal lives at stake.
Telling the truth should always be a higher priority than winning an argument.
How To Avoid Passing Along Fake News
If you see a story that gets your blood pumping, but you’re not sure if it’s true, try this simple 4-step process before posting it:
1. Find out if it is true.
It’s not hard. You can do it on the device you're using right now.
Here’s a hint: if it’s only found on one source, or on a couple off-brand sources that tend to parrot the same viewpoint, it’s almost certainly not true.
2. If it is not true, do not post it.
Obviously. I hope.
3. If you are unable to find out if it's true, do not post it.
Also obviously. (I wish.)
4. If it is true and helpful, post it.
Making sure it’s helpful is as important as making sure it’s truthful.
Only post news items that you know are true and helpful. Otherwise, swipe left and post a pretty picture with a Bible verse on it instead.