Hi! I bet you found the sound of this article interesting! You must either:
- Be one of those people that read every Christian article/blog and share it on your Facebook or Twitter
- REALLY like Nutella (which I found out sells about a half-billion pounds to more than 70 countries per year and sells over $240 million per year in the US alone) or
- Be a hardcore “Directioner”.
I could make up this bogus article on how these three completely random things have a common bond. And I bet if I make it sound super spiritual, you might even share it on social media. Now this isn’t coming out of pride, and I’m definitely not condemning you by any means—it’s just a trend I’m noticing. As information becomes more readily available, coupled with the new era of social media, we ALL have become journalists. We each have the ability to get on a wordpress, write a blog, post it online, and if we are lucky (assuming it has to do with dating or love), it could blow up.
I’m infatuated with understanding people and how we communicate our lives, thoughts, and emotions, which is why I have a degree in Communication. Lately, while I’ve been doing my daily social media stalking, I’ve noticed a huge increase in blogs/articles being shared on everything from finding love in your twenty-somethings to how Canada was behind 9/11. Since I am a connoisseur of this stuff, I’ll usually take a gander at what these people have to say—but what I find is simply alarming! Christian men and women are sharing posts that quite frankly are terrible pieces of advice. These pieces of advice and commentary on social issues have allowed God and Biblical principles to be misconstrued and misused to the point where the Gospel is no longer clear. The issue gets bigger because by sharing these articles, we essentially endorse it. This has been on my heart for a long time because I understand the incredible power that communication has on our society. As Paul says in Romans 1, we have traded the truth of God for a lie, and have worshiped (and shared) created things rather than the creator. Our thoughts, actions, and opinions are literally shaped by everything we consume. So I guess the question is… are you consuming the right things?
So where do we go from here? Here are 4 tips to help you evaluate the information you consume and show.
Check the source.
Before you read any article, this should be the first thing you do. It doesn’t matter if it’s for leisure or for academic purposes. The source says it all! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched Facebook arguments ERUPT over an article from The Onion—the most nonfactual, satirical, fake news site in the history of the world. Checking the source of your article or blog allows you to first filter the credibility of the subject at hand. At some point in our lives, we’ve all had that one friend you couldn’t trust a single word that came out of their mouth. They could say things like “Bro, I SWEAR I saw our librarian riding that bull at the rodeo this weekend!” or “No, I PINKY PROMISE he likes you and wants you to text him”, but you knew better. You knew not to trust whatever they said—let alone spread it. Don’t let a bad source make you look bad! You can save yourself a lot of time by simply checking the source beforehand.
Is it scriptural?
I’ve mentioned this other times in my other articles, but I am a part of Chi Alpha Campus Ministries at Missouri State University. Recently, we had the director from Central Arkansas Chi Alpha come speak to our staff to offer some advice since we are doing some reconstruction of our ministry and their Chi Alpha is extremely successful. However, before he gave his own opinions, he immediately referenced scripture and showed how the scripture dictated his personal opinions. I will never forget that. He had the opportunity to market himself and his opinions supreme, but he made sure that the words he said were a clear representation of his dynamic relationship with the Word of God. The advice we are allowing into our lives, the things we are sharing on social media, are they based in scripture? Otherwise, what truth are we endorsing? The Word of God is the foundation that we set our lives on. I dare you to read the Bible for yourself and discover the Truth that lies within. As a close friend of mine says, “There is such a thing as absolute Truth, but it won’t be found in every blog.”
Is this advice I would share with my kids?
If you know me, I love thinking of the future—I even have a list of what I think are cool names for my future kids on my phone (make fun of me if you want, I have accepted it). Although you might think this question is awkward or premature in your life, just think about it… why consume advice for your life, if you wouldn’t even want to give it to your kids when that time comes? Some of the blogs and articles I see (especially when it comes to dating) circulating around Facebook make me cringe! If I know Zion and Jayden (that’s a sneak peek at my list) aren’t going to be reading that stuff, I shouldn’t fill my own life with it. It’s funny how when we objectively take the mindset of a parent, everything changes!
Does it point people to Christ?
At the end of the day, everything we do—the lives we live, the actions we display, the attitude we exude, and the things we support—are hanging on this question. Not every article has to have a written alter call or a “come to Jesus moment”, but does the article or blog come from a place of love or arrogance? Servanthood or selfishness? Does it speak truth or does it have the power to deceive? As Christ-followers, the rhetoric we allow to manipulate our thoughts, actions, and opinions should always point toward the cross. What we read and allow others to read should edify and uplift each other!
1 John 4: 5-6 says “They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.”
Now this may sound intense, but Peter is adamant when speaking to his audience about false teachings. I want you to understand that I am by no means saying that you shouldn’t read or share anything that doesn’t come from Relevant Magazine, Boundless, or Focus on the Family (that would get so boring), but understand that the viewpoints of the world will always inherently be distorted truth. Seeking advice from people is cool and all, but I know a place where the advice is always free and never wrong. You just read four pages of an article by a 22 year old who has a lifetime of spiritual growth still to do, but have you even read 4 pages of the Truth today?
Maybe I’m crazy… Maybe I’m being too critical… Maybe there really is a connection between Jesus, Nutella, and Harry Styles.
Nii holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication. He is currently an intern for the City of Springfield, Missouri and is pursuing his Master's degree in Communication. In addition to writing for Insecurely, he's known to do a fantastic President Obama impression.
To know more about Nii, follow him on Twitter.