This post first appeared on Kineti and is authored by Judah Gabriel Himango, one of Tabernacle of David’s teachers.
|Hebrew Roots friends from Facebook spreading misinformation|
Messianics spreading misinformation on their Facebook pages is a real problem. It’s led to people leaving the movement. It’s caused young people to feel alienated. It’s chased away rational and thinking people. It’s hurt our credibility about God and Messiah.
With apologies to Jordan Peterson, here are 10 Rules for Light: An Antidote to Misinformation. Ways to become a better disciple of Yeshua by valuing truth over misinformation in your digital life.
- 🔗 Be slow to speak. The Bible tells us that disciples of Yeshua should be slow to speak and slow to anger. Does the thing you’re posting align with this biblical trait? Or does it demonstrate that you’re quick to speak and quick to anger?
- 🔗 No information is better than bad information. Don’t post things if you’re not certain if they’re true. Proverbs 17 says, “Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.” A popular quote attributed to Mark Twain says the same thing: “It’s better to keep one’s mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”
- 🔗 Ask how it’ll impact your witness. If the thing you’re about to post turns out false, will your unbelieving friends, family or peers think less of your credibility?
- 🔗 Look for credible sources. Are the authors of the video or article experts in the subject matter? Are they respected in their field? Or is this just some rando from YouTube?
- 🔗 Ask the experts. Is your video about a hidden Hebrew meaning? Ask a native Hebrew speaker first. Is your article about medicine? Ask someone in the medical field before posting. Is your video about technology? Ask a technologist. (Don’t know any experts in the subject matter? Privately ask for feedback from your congregation leaders before posting. When in doubt, leave it out.)
- 🔗 Avoid sensationalism. Is the thing you’re about to share sensational? Does it make outrageous or extraordinary claims? “The COVID vaccine isn’t a vaccine – it’s biotechnology meant to sterilize us!” Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. In my experience, more than 99% of such posts are pure hot garbage. Avoid sensationalistic posts and your truthfulness batting average will improve.
- 🔗 Watch out for confirmation bias. Are you posting this because it’s true, or because it confirms an opinion you already have? Too often Yeshua’s disciples have zero skepticism for viewpoints we already agree with. Exercise your God-given intellect and rationality and be skeptical.
- 🔗 Be wary of politics. Politics blinds otherwise reasonable people to obvious truths. Politics unnecessarily divides communities. There are times when politics aligns with Biblical values – opposition to slavery in the past, and opposition to abortion today are two examples. But outside of these extremes, politics tends to hurt our witness. The Apostle Paul didn’t spend his countless hours talking about how evil Caesar was, or who he’d be supporting as the next Governor of Judea. He spent that time on Messiah and him crucified.
- 🔗 Avoid ‘all spirit, no brain’ If the post you’re about to share is based on private revelation only, shy away from posting it. Example: “During Biden’s inauguration, a scroll named Justice was opened in Heaven. It spoke to me, ‘Massive voter fraud will soon be exposed!” Friends, there is no shortage of hucksters, charlatans, false prophets and televangelists who make such claims. But there is a dire shortage of the real deal. Shy away from posting private revelations because 99% of the time, they’re false.
- 🔗 Refocus on Yeshua. If I go to your Facebook page, will I see you’re a disciple of Yeshua? Or will I see conspiracy theories about THE TRUTH of the moon landing? If you want the truth, Yeshua said, “I am the truth.” Spend your energy on Yeshua and his kingdom, doing the things he told you to do.
Friends, follow these rules in your digital life. Before you post on Facebook, before you send that email, before you tweet, before you send that DM. We want to create a more truthful Messianic world. If you pitch in and do your part by valuing truth in your digital life, we’ll repair the brokenness that exists today and be a better light for the King.