Around presidential election time there was a lot of noise about fake news stories and media misgivings. This hit close to home for me because of my background in journalism and my job in marketing. The Internet offers many benefits, like the speed and ease of communication and the availability of information, but it also has drawbacks, and how easily deceptive and false information can be spread is just one.
In college I took a class about literary criticism, the practice of analyzing, evaluating and interpreting literary works. The class often reminded me that behind every piece of information is a person. Some kinds of literary criticism focus on what the person meant or intended, while other kinds focus on other aspects (like what the reader gets out of the work or what it means outside the time it was written). The person behind each literary work is a significant aspect that can be analyzed and considered, just like the actual work itself. Critically evaluating material and its author (or source) works well also for information on the Internet.
The literary works that I studied in that class are some of my favorites now because of how deeply we explored them. The process reminded me of Acts 17:11 Acts 17:11These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
American King James Version×, which explains that the Bereans “received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily . . . ” The word “searched” here means “the process of careful study, evaluation and judgment up to its needed conclusion.” In the ancient world, the Greek word was often used in its forensic sense, “for the investigation of a crime,” and can even refer to “examination by torture” (http://biblehub.com/greek/350.htm). This is an intense kind of study. Searching the Bible in this way is vital to understanding God, and reviewing other information with the same intense examination used by the Bereans allows us to see whether it aligns with the Bible.
The Bereans weren’t the only ones to benefit from learning about the truth—they were, and still are, a powerful example to others. All of us in God’s Church have that same opportunity today. In John 18:37 John 18:37Pilate therefore said to him, Are you a king then? Jesus answered, You say that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Every one that is of the truth hears my voice.
American King James Version×, Christ says, “For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth.” With God’s help, we can follow Christ’s example and provide evidence of His truth to others through our lives.
I’m new in the marketing world, but I’ve been learning from many expert marketers what works. At my desk, I wrote down a reminder: “Be honest; be warm; be useful.” People are drawn to marketing and social media posts that are genuine, personable and serving a need. This same concept works well in life, too. We all have an opportunity to share and post things that are honest and warm and useful, and to exhibit those qualities in our relationships. So let’s be bright lights to the world, revealing reality, warming those around us and showing the way.