One of the tragedies in life is speaking or sharing false information when we do not know the facts. There is a tendency for folk to repeat information not knowing whether it is accurate or erroneous. So often we get on the band wagon with the party who can share information in the most interesting and illustrious manner. There is a disregard for whether the shared information is beneficial or damaging. One lesson I learned a long time ago was to only repeat what is known to be factual and true. For anything spoken otherwise may be considered gossip or public chatter.
Be leery of individuals who get great joy and satisfaction when telling someone else’s story without knowing the facts. Be leery of persons who start their sentences with, “I heard.” Watch out for people who seem to get great satisfaction out of knowing or receiving information before anyone else. Be careful in formulating opinions and feelings regarding others without knowing the certainty of the information.
There are some people who have become professional news and story tellers. Information can be shared in such an interesting fashion that it sounds to be true, but when the facts are revealed, it can be disturbing and destructive. It has been said that a dog that brings a bone will carry a bone. Beware!
It is also amazing that people in key positions in government can share fabricated information without any regret or apologies. They do it so convincingly that it makes you wonder what makes them tick.
The reason I write this message today is because there are so many occasions when persons, even in high positions, are sharing information and it is far from being the truth or accurate. When that happens, those of us who know the truth must be bold enough to steer people in the direction of getting the facts before going further with the story. The sad commentary is when a large percentage of us who hear the untruths embrace and support what we know to be fallacious.
The Bible teaches us in Exodus 23:1, “Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.” In this verse, the Lord told His people that they shall not bear a false report, meaning they were called not to spread untrue information so as to perpetrate injustice.
Bible Study Tools tells us: “Thou shall not raise a false report of a neighbor, or of any man whatever, either secretly by private slanders, whispers, backbiting and tale bearing, by innuendos, detracting from his good name and credit, suggesting things false and wicked concerning him; or publicly in a court of judicature, bringing a false accusation, laying a false charge, and bearing a false testimony against him.”
The New York Times reports that doctors are exasperated by the persistence of false and misleading claims about COVID-19. It has been three years since the beginning of the pandemic, yet COVID-19 continues to haunt us. The same holds true about the misleading information.
When the announcement was made in 2020 about COVID-19, there were all sorts of outlandish comments relative to the coronavirus. Misinformation spread like wildfire. Even today, there are people who believe the claims by social media that Covid vaccines will insert robots into their arms. Because we are not always getting the facts, many places are still experiencing a high number of COVID-19 cases.
There are times when all of us must make some tough decisions. It makes it a little easier in making those decisions when we have the facts. It is good to have discussions with family and friends when making decisions, but there comes a point when we must discern and do what is considered best for us individually.
In closing, we must continue to put our total trust in God and not social media. Get the facts before spreading misinformation.
Just my thoughts!
Robert Earl Slade, Pastor