If I’ve heard it once in the last month I’ve heard it a hundred times… I’m sick and tired of the news! Especially FAKE NEWS! I find myself in Washington a number of times each year and inevitably as I talk with friends who live and work there the conversation always includes a moment or two of reflection addressing the reality that our nations capitol is indeed confused when it comes to reality! It’s a different world to be sure. News is king and the king is not always concerned with the facts. I’ve heard it said that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, just not their own set of facts! The saying, “the truth is the truth whether anyone believes it or not” is still a valid point!
According to the dictionary, Desensitization is a method to reduce or eliminate an organism’s negative reaction to a substance or stimulus. In psychology, desensitization (or graduated exposure therapy) is a process for mitigating the harmful effects of phobias or other disorders. It also occurs when an emotional response is repeatedly evoked in situations in which the action tendency that is associated with the emotion proves irrelevant or unnecessary. Agoraphobics, who fear open spaces and social gatherings outside their own home, may be gradually led to increase their interaction with the outside world by putting them in situations that are uncomfortable but not panic-provoking for them. In other words, by exposing someone to small doses at a time you can change the way they react to a certain situation or issue. What a brilliant strategy, don’t you think? New and cutting edge you say. No not really, it’s the same strategy that Satan has implemented for ages. Get people use to small doses of falsehood on a regular basis, and then they will begin to accept it over a long period of time. Not possible you say. Well let me ask you; are there things today that are considered acceptable that were completely unacceptable a few years ago? Sure there are, and it’s happened without a fight because our culture has been eased into to thinking that it’s OK. Charles Colson in his book Loving God, talks about how pivotal issues are introduced to society. They are blasted into the realm of discussion through a crisis or tragedy, (news, movies, print media), then they become debated and discussed (books, talk shows, editorials), then they are defended, (organizations, celebrities, laws), eventually the issue that was repulsive and unacceptable is now acceptable and celebrated. Of course the process takes time, but the strategy works. Example… FAKE NEWS! For what it’s worth, fake news is defined by one popular internet source as, “A type of yellow journalism that consists of deliberate misinformation or hoaxes spread via the traditional print, broadcast media or via internet social media. Fake news is written and published with the intent to mislead in order to gain financially or politically…” End of quote and sadly it’s true!
So you’re asking yourself, what’s to be done? Is there any hope? Listen to Pastor Pete…. “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer”, and again… “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” Now what Peter is reminding us is that we need to pay close attention to what’s happening around us so we are not led astray by the devices of Satan. Could that happen? Well let me ask you, have you ever make a decision based on faulty information? What if that decision had serious or even eternal consequences?
In late September 1864, Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest was leading his troops north from Decatur, Alabama, toward Nashville. But to make it to Nashville, Forrest would have to defeat the Union army at Athens, Alabama. When the Union commander, Colonel Wallace Campbell, refused to surrender, Forrest asked for a personal meeting, and took Campbell on an inspection of his troops. But each time they left a detachment, the Confederate soldiers simply packed up and moved to another position, artillery and all. Forrest and Campbell would then arrive at the new encampment and continue to tally up the impressive number of Confederate soldiers and weaponry. By the time they returned to the fort, Campbell was convinced he couldn’t win and surrendered unconditionally! We must not allow fake news to shape our involvement and/or our outlook culturally or politically. The church is called for such a moment as this to influence and shape the culture God has allowed us to steward. Most importantly we must not allow the false spiritual narrative of the Satan to hinder our walk with God. FAKE NEWS… JUST DON’T BUY IT!
Tim Throckmorton is the former Executive Pastor of the Plymouth Heights Church of the Nazarene in Franklin Furnace Ohio and the Portsmouth First Church of the Nazarene in Franklin Furnace, Ohio. He is currently the Senior Pastor at Crossroads Church in Circleville, Ohio.ReachReach