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“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’”
"Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'" John 14:6
Have you seen “The Social Dilemma” on Netflix yet?
If you’re late to the party like I was, let me give you a brief run down of this popular documentary. Basically, former employees from some of the top social media companies like google, pinterest, instagram etc. came out about their concerns about the crazy impacts social media is having on our culture and how the tech industry is controlling our lives.
After seeing the documentary, people started deleting their social media accounts and although the documentary was interesting and worth watching, there were some things I couldn’t help but notice and look at through a different lens as a follower of Jesus.
The words these employees used to describe the effects on social media on us were “deception” and “manipulation.”
I couldn’t help but think of how deception and manipulation are so opposite from the heart of God. One former high executive expressed how he tried to use “will power” to overcome the manipulative draw the app had over his life (which he had helped create), but simply couldn’t.
There were so many alarming statistics shown throughout the documentary but one of the biggest and most concerning problems these employees wanted to shed light on was the fact that social media is distorting our perception of truth.
I found it so fascinating that they believed this was a new problem.
The example given was a wikipedia page. When you go to wikipedia we all see the same thing. But, when we go to our feeds created by these companies, we see something that is specific to us. Some believe this is contributing to the belief that we have our “own truth.” Because these companies have helped us by giving us one.
After watching it, I thought it was all pretty interesting but honestly, not that new. This is why the gospel changes us. This is why it saves us. We have access to unchanging truth.
God is truth and we have been given a way to discern truth from deception and manipulation, and maybe with social media we need it now more than ever.
This documentary made me feel a little afraid at first, and a little like I’m imprisoned by the big tech companies. But I’m not. I know the truth. I know where to find it and I know who the truth is. The media and anything else that’s “wordly” doesn’t get to manipulate, control, or deceive us when we are communing with Truth Himself.
As followers of Jesus, we have the Holy Spirit to discern truth. We can sense when something is deceptive and doesn’t line up with the Spirit of the Lord, but we are only equipped to do this when we’re spending time with Him and focusing on truth.
The confusion, the deception, and the manipulation start to be welcomed into our lives, our thoughts, and even impact our behaviors when we aren’t soaking in truth.
When we know the truth, we are free.
It’s simple and it’s what Jesus, who came as the truth, came to accomplish. To free us from sin, but also to free us from confusion, deception, and manipulation which didn’t just come along with social media but have always been present with Satan in the world.
I personally don’t have any interest in being manipulated or deceived, and so that means I have to dive into the truth and to pursue it and fill my life with it. It means I have to study it, learn it, and walk in it.
It means no matter what opinions, popular tweets, trending hashtags or cute sounding ideas I’m presented with online I know where to look for the Truth. (John 14:6)
If you are a disciple of Jesus, you have access to the truth. It’s not in a particular news source, it’s not in a political party or leader, it’s not in your news feed. It’s in Jesus and when you use the measure for truth He gave us, it’s freeing.
The scary thing is, a lot of people are missing it. Stop scrolling and go to the Word of God. He promises revelation and clarity, and most importantly, His truth is the truth, and it never changes.
-Where do you normally look first to discern what is true?
-What areas of your life do you see often experience confusion in? What would it look like to combat this with God's Word?
-How can you walk in truth compared to just knowing truth?
Think of one thing that leaves you feeling confused. Maybe it's watching the news, maybe it's following a particular person on social media. What would it look like to replace that time/space in your life with spending time with God and soaking in His truth?
Hey God, you are the unchanging truth. You are consistent and everlasting and you present us with a truth that does not change. Your promises do not change. You are the truth. Help us to hunger for and seek after truth in our lives this week. Reveal truth to us and free us from strongholds of deception and manipulation. Amen.
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