Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. – John 17:17 (NKJV)
I get a kick out of the TV commercial where a good-looking gal is waiting for her date, a guy she met on the Internet. “He’s a French model,” she says as a lumbering lug of a fellow who’s obviously anything but a French model, approaches with an awkward, “Bonjour.” Off she goes with him, convinced that “you can’t put anything on the Internet that isn’t true.”
The Internet is, indeed, an information superhighway, handy for research on all kinds of topics. Unlike the pretty girl waiting for her French model date, though, I’m well aware that it’s all too easy to post things on the Web that are untrue. So I visit trusted sites, such as those maintained by reputable organizations, and compare information I glean from them.
The ’Net, however, is used for much more than information. Businesses advertise products and services, and folks sell their used stuff. It’s a cyber-shopping mall. Once again, though, you’ve got to be careful. As in the real world, thieves and con artists lurk in the virtual world of cyberspace. I purchase only from reputable, trusted sites.
Then there’s Facebook. Only one of a number of social media sites, Facebook was launched in 2004 as a vehicle for people to socialize in cyberspace, keep up with friends and relatives, and meet new people. The name came from a photograph directory universities printed at the beginning of the academic year to help students get to know one another.
As technology advanced, Facebook exploded, now boasting over one billion active users. That’s a huge audience for those who have more of an agenda than just online socializing. Facebook pages have become a place for rants, cutesy pictures, hilarious videos (like the one of the old lady crossing the street in front of an impatient driver honking the horn of his fancy convertible), and political statements. Get on your virtual soapbox, and you can lose a friend quickly on Facebook.
People repost pictures and articles that have been doctored up to twist the meaning to say what someone wanted it to say. In my early days on Facebook, I reposted a couple of these, only to have a friend tell me the story was false. “Check it out on Snopes.com,” she advised me.
So I did. And now I use Snopes.com frequently. This website was founded by a California couple to validate or debunk urban legends, myths, rumors, and misinformation that circulate on the Internet via sites such as Facebook and through email. (I don’t even read emails that have been forwarded to me anymore.) The site does more than tell you whether the story is true, false, or a mixture. It presents the truth that has been researched and authenticated, and gets to the origin of the story.
It’s hard to know what to believe anymore. But I know one source that always presents the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth: God’s Word.
Not sure about something? Check it out in the original Snopes.com—the Bible. And avoid those Facebook follies.
In a world where deceit and falsehood abound, remind me, God, to cling to the Truth of all ages—Your Holy Word. Amen.
Special-Tea: Read Psalm 19:7–11; 2 Timothy 3:16