On this April Fools Day social media has been saturated by prankster posts that have claimed everything from the CFA (Country Fire Authority) issuing a statewide ban on all BBQ's during summer, to the release of broccoli flavoured Lindt Lindor balls, to the discovery of the earliest Q documents containing sayings of Jesus that are older than the gospels! While these frivolous posts were meant to be a bit of fun, the speed in which they spread and the nature of the comments they evoked by people who missed the joke only serves to demonstrate that foolishness is not just reserved for the 1st of April.
It staggers me just how easily people are taken in by anything posted on the internet that feeds their prejudices or points of view, without checking its source or accuracy. It equally amazes me how quickly people share old news as though it was new information without checking the date. Even more concerning than my disbelief at how indiscriminate people can be is their obsession with passing on gossip, slander and unsubstantiated rumours. The saying "don't let the truth get in the way of a good story" seems to be the prevailing ethos of social media.
It grieves me to say this disregard for truth is even more prevalent than the realm of social media! In a world where gossip is rampant in the church, slander dominates politics and rumours plague celebrities we desperately need to rethink the value of truthful talk. Regardless of your faith convictions there is some biblical wisdom that would serve us well in this space: "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think [or speak] about such things" (Philippians 4:8).
Don't be a fool! Let us try being a little more discerning about what we read and a little more responsible about what we share on social media.