– by Lourieke Haller

The elections have come and gone and one was, at times, overwhelmed with the amount of propaganda, lies, and fake news that was doing the rounds, most being shared on WhatsApp and via SMS. One would receive the same WhatsApp message from ten different people, and yet not one person had taken the time to verify the facts, but instead just ignorantly forwarded everything that popped up on their phone. It is exhausting and disturbing.

Challenging to discern the truth
Sadly, it is often older people who are fooled and who help to spread the falsities. In their day, people complied to strict journalistic ethics. News and information could be taken at face value and could be trusted. There was no such thing as deliberate, malicious fake news, as we are experiencing today. 

Spread faith and hope in God
Just a suggestion, if you do not know the source, or if you have not verified the facts – please do not send it on. Also, if you do not have a positive solution to the problem, do not spread the message and give it traction. Avoid being part of the problem. It is your prerogative to click on the message and read it, but please do not pass on fear to the next ten people. Rather share God’s Word, and His wisdom in these trying times. Imagine if the truth and the Gospel spread as fast as the bad news. Let us aid in creating an environment of faith, trust, and unity.

How are we going to deal with the age of deception?
The Bible warns that the time will come when people will not want to hear the good news. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine . . . they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things,” – 2 Timothy 4:3-5.

We are living in this age
The shift has taken place and we cannot turn the clock back. We can however determine our reaction and role in it, and how we are going to deal with it. Sharing false news releases a spirit of fear and division. We, as Christians, must operate in the opposite spirit.

Be careful, that we do not spread lies about fellow brothers and sisters unintentionally
Sadly, deception is also found within the Body of Christ. There are far-right-wing-fundamentalist groups whose activities only seem to be hindering the Gospel from getting out. They make no allowances for denominations other than themselves and end up inoculating unbelievers against the truth. Recently, an unnamed group took certain churches and organisations’ logos (including our JOY and JUIG logos) without being authorised, put them all on a document, and illegally used them to spread lies on WhatsApp. This group originates from the USA, but local ignorant Christians are happily spreading this message. Many others were slandered, even people like Dr. Arno van Niekerk (of NNM / Kingdom Nation), Angus Buchan, and organisations like Errol Naidoo’s Family Policy Institute, Unashamedly Ethical, the ACDP, and so forth. We were all slandered not by unbelievers, but from within this strange Christian group. Ironically, the very people and organisations standing for truth are being targeted by malicious, untruthful messages that are forwarded without concern. One must forward only what is edifying and exhorting to fellow Christians brothers; for who is ‘the accuser of the brethren’? 

Do not inflict damage to the Body of Christ
Let us stop inflicting damage to the Body. Let us stop forwarding messages that are not verified. Let us proclaim Jesus Christ as King. Let us not allow division and the spirit of fear, and let us focus on what the Lord is busy with in our nation.

Be a bearer of light
We are calling all Christians to stand up and not be part of satan’s strategy to spread bad news. Do not be ignorant. We are bearers of light, we are called to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ, which overcomes the bad news, “because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world,” – 1 John 4:4. That is the message we should be spreading and living out.

Article source: JOY! Magazine (June 2019)

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