2020-05: The Need for Discernment in a World of Deception - part 2
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The Need for Discernment in a World of Deception - part 2

As the time of Jesus’ return approaches, we all need to be more discerning. In Matthew 24, Jesus says that deception will grow in the end days. Deception can be pronounced and obvious, or it can be subtle and sly. The enemy employed both when trying to tempt Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4). His subtle use and misuse of Scripture illustrates one such tactic. It sounded right. He quoted the Bible right? But no. The enemy’s manipulation of the Word of God was not right. It was not accurate. Fortunately, Jesus was well-acquainted not only with the written law of God, but also was abiding in deep relationship with His Father, and as such He was able to recognise and refute the enemy’s attempts to deceive Him.

As Christians, we have the Spirit of God in us. We have the Holy Spirit to speak, counsel and guide. And we are encouraged to exercise discernment, to judge wisely. It has increasingly concerned and saddened me to see how often we Christians will share and re-share inaccurate or completely false information on social media pages or via email just because it is on the internet. Sometimes our confidence in doing so is because it had been shared by another Christian contact who also was unaware of its erroneous nature.

We need to be searchers and researchers of truth (Ps 25:5; 2 Tim 2:15; 1 Tim 4), remembering that God’s Word alone is truth and that we have the indwelling Spirit of truth available to us.

I’m reminded of this key Scripture:

“Therefore see that you walk carefully [living life with honour, purpose, and courage; shunning those who tolerate and enable evil], not as the unwise, but as wise [sensible, intelligent, discerning people], making the very most of your time [on earth, recognising and taking advantage of each opportunity and using it with wisdom and diligence], because the days are [filled with] evil. Therefore do not be foolish and thoughtless, but understand and firmly grasp what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:15-17


Some of you may have seen posts I've written on Facebook about our need to be increasingly discerning and discriminating when it comes to what we see, read and then hit “Share" on social media sites. Whether it be memes, supposed "quotes", articles from various websites, or pictographs, the internet — and social media in particular — allows anyone with fingers and an internet connection to send into the world whatever they want.

Unfortunately, be it due to the propagation of misinformation, a lack of proper investigation, or an intentional desire of the original writer to either deceive or persuade in line with a particular agenda, so much of what floats around in cyberspace and flashes onto our newsfeeds can be, at the least, incomplete, inaccurate and unhelpful, and at worst, a deliberate deception which sets out to do harm. Exercising increased discernment and being more circumspect about such matters takes on even greater import in the current circumstances with regards to the pandemic. There is a lot of misinformation out there, so we need to hesitate to believe holus-bolus what any individual and their pecking fingers can share on the internet, ensuring instead that we take our information from credible and reliable sources.


The phrase “fake news” has entered our society’s vocabulary over recent years, and while sometimes that phrase can be used as a smoke-screen in various arenas, when it comes to things on the internet, there are indeed many instances of false reporting, false claims and false information.

One such example that has come to me numerous times from friends is a post with a plea purporting to be from a well-known preacher. It has been shared widely in Christian circles, but is actually quite easy to research and ascertain that it is a deception.

The original post was actually someone pretending to be this preacher. In this case I was able to ascertain the false nature of these posts by:

  1. Seeing if there are any such news reports on the internet about the incident referred to.
  2. Checking that particular preacher’s website, and social media sites to see if she or her team wrote the post that was shared.


Be a Researcher - not everything reported online, nor in the media, is true.

In an era of swift information sharing and information overload, particularly in the media and on the internet, how do we discern what information is right and true?

For one, we need to remember that not everything that is on the internet is true or accurate. Anything can be made into a meme. Anyone with a few dollars can set up a website and purport to be an authority on something. There are many who actually put things out there in a concerted effort to deceive, to sway opinion, to cause fear.

Secondly, we need to realise that we are often pushed by the rush of information coming to us to then also share it quickly. This rush is not helpful. Taking some time to digest and discern is necessary.

Some tips...

1. We need to be increasingly circumspect about what we read, believe and share.

2. If you have access to the internet, have a Facebook account or access to some other online media site, then you also have Google (or some other search engine). Using Google, we can fact-check something before sharing it. 

Yes, it might take a bit of time, but that time is well worth it.
(i) If our fact-checking shows that it’s untrue, or at least, unproven, then we can prevent contributing to the propagation of misinformation (be it a deliberate attempt to sway, or an inaccurate accounting of something). As such, we don’t contributing to the untruthful persuasion of others nor someone’s agenda/belief system, whether be it innocent or not.

(ii) If it’s true, you might learn additional information or important facts that will benefit you and others.

But most importantly…

3. It gives us time to hear the Holy Spirit. Taking the time to research the veracity of the information before hitting “Share” gives the Holy Spirit to speak to your spirit, tuning you in to new opportunities to grow in discernment. This quality is unequalled. Even Google can’t compete!


Here are a few other ideas:

For fact checking sites, visit: https://middlebury.libguides.com/internet/fact-checking

For reported scams in Australia check government’s scam watch site: www.scamwatch.gov.au

How To Spot Fake News

For part 1 of this series, visit: http://sites.radiantwebtools.com/index.cfm?i=11061&mid=25&blogid=14619

Belinda Tigell is an Australian singer-songwriter, speaker, teacher, worship leader and author. Find her regular blogs on belindatigellministries.com. 
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