Fake news (Peter Wainwright)

A few years ago someone coined the phrase ‘being economical with the truth”. It seems that the latest phrase is ‘fake news’. Whatever it is called, deliberately making up falsehoods or withholding information to discredit someone is dishonouring God. It will incur His judgement sooner or later.  Do people need to use ‘fake news’ to keep up with others who are doing so? Or will God honour those who reflect His nature of truthfulness?

The boss of the world’s largest company, Tim Cook of Apple, has called on governments to launch a public information campaign to fight the scourge of fake news, which is (to quote him) “killing people’s minds”. Mr Cook says, further, that the epidemic of false reports is a big problem in a lot of the world. He says that “it (truthfulness) has to be ingrained in the schools, it has to be ingrained in the public, there has to be a massive campaign by governments”. Whilst he may be correct in his assessment, he does not seem to include in the remedies the prospect of parents passing on to their children the importance of always telling the truth.  As a society we seem to increasingly by-pass the influence in the home, and expect the schools and the governments to sort out social issues.

Mothering Sunday falls on March 26th, this year. The day is a timely reminder each year of the importance of the role of parenting. In Psalm 34 the writer says: (verse 11f) “Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.  Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from telling lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it”. Oh that in every home in the land parents will be showing their children, by word and example, the values of keeping their lips from telling lies. To be effective it would need to be done gently and lovingly without use of force; but if enough parents teach it consistently the ‘tide can turn’.

The alternative, namely a nation growing up without a sense of  honesty in dealing with others, leads to that nation collapsing under the weight of corruption. No nation will achieve 100% honesty and completely root out corruption; but it is a question of the predominant ethos – truth or corruption.  Perhaps there is a ‘tipping point’, in which the prayers of the church in that land has a vital role. God is looking at and listening to the prayers and attitudes of the church in Great Britain, and in every other nation on earth. The issue is, will the church here continue to humble itself, acknowledge its total dependence on God, and cry out to him for mercy for the sins of both the church and the nation? Will the church support parents with prayer in their role of ‘setting the tone of the nation’? What does seem to be clear is that a nation cannot be blessed if corruption and lies are pre-dominant. As God said via the prophet Jeremiah in chapter 7 v 28: “Therefore say to them, ‘This is the nation that has not obeyed the Lord its God or responded to correction. Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips”. I leave you with that as a challenge.

Peter Wainwright