Before there was only the “good news” or the “bad news”. Today there is the “fake news.”
Instantaneous messaging tools like Twitter or Facebook and other media, although good in themselves, have been used by unscrupulous people to put out “news” or “information” that are partial truths or outright falsehoods – usually for self-serving purposes.
Fake news is powerful because it can take a life of its own as it spreads rapidly and widely. Fake information in politics, culture, health, etc., have robbed people of their money, damaged their reputation, and tended to diminish their faith in the human race.
A nation engaged in a just war may perhaps be justified to use fake information to confuse the enemy. But in normal times there is no place for fake news and fake information.
The devil, the father of lies (John 8:44), began the first use of fake information by telling the woman in the garden of Eden, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it (fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Gen. 2:15-16; 3:1-5).
Told of the birth of the King of the Jews, Herod faked a desire to worship Him and told the Magi to tell him where the baby Jesus was; Herod’s intent was to eliminate Him (Matt. 2: 7-16).
Receiving the guards’ report of what happened on the day of resurrection of Jesus the chief priests bribed the guards and told them to spread the fake news that the disciples of Jesus had stolen His body. (Matt. 28:4-15).
The 8th commandment –“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” forbids the use of the tongue (and “information”) in a way that will harm other persons.
In Jesus we find forgiveness for our sins, including the sins of the tongue.
Jesus came to us so that we will know the truth of God’s love for us. He Himself is the Truth. (John 14:6). As we navigate our way through the plethora of “news” we receive every day we cling to the Word of God – the lamp for our feet and light on our path. (Heb. 5:14; Psalm 119:105). We will encounter fake information in this world, but be of good cheer; Jesus has overcome the world! (John 16:33).
A devotional by Rev. Emmanuel N. Ilagan