By Edwin D. Arceo

Let us get one thing straight, social media is a secular product. Everybody uses it. We are just but a tiny piece of sand in the social media ocean. We, meaning Christians, are supposed to be a spiritual people. Yes, we can use social media to let others know of Christ but a lot of times it also deceives us. A lot of Christians tend to look like fools on social media with their online attitude and thereby shaming the Lord’s name and makes the “unchurched” avoid us. This is actually a setback for Jesus. Remember this: once anything is posted or liked or twitted online it’s going to stay there and stay forever–including the foolish ones—and it goes back to you.

Social media is a two-edged sword. It can cut the enemy but it can also cut you. Here are a few things that you need to know to avoid getting messed up online and thereby maintaining a good testimony as a Christian:

  1. Do not be gullible. Don’t believe everyhing you read online. This problem goes back decades. Not everything posted online is true. We (people older than the Millenials) should already know that. Do you remember the email that got forwarded to so many people via email years ago about a movie that was supposed to depict Christ as gay and having a relationship with Mary Magdalene? That many Christians were supposedly up in arms so that this movie won’t get produced and played in theaters and that we should sign a petition? Did anything like it was ever shown? None right? But so many believers believed it!Friends, its a shame for Christians to be found gullible or easily misled by mere headlines. Today it’s called click-bait. Where the content of the article is not as honest as the headline. I got tricked by something like this when I saw an email that Morgan Freeman died and I forwarded it to many people and in just a few minutes, one of my staff who received the email came to me and told me that it was just a hoax (Morgan is still alive, thank God!). After that incident I committed myself to verifying every news I come upon, which what everyone of us should be doing.
  2. Do not take online content as gospel truth. Facebook is now the primary source of news for a huge percentage of the online population. It is now also one of the biggest sources of scams and hoaxes and misinformation. Recently, a Tech Crunch article said that “For (Facebook) News Feed, Facebook has developed systems to suppress fake stories, hoaxes and clickbait, and now it plans to roll out the same thing to Trending.” This only shows that fake stories run rampant on the social media network so we all should be wary of every story that we read. On October 3,2014, GMA News ran a list of fake news sites in the Philippines. You can check it out HERE. Last May 30, 2016, Spot.ph ran a more updated list that you can find HERE.
  3. Do not be paranoid. What does this mean? There are a lot of people who forward warnings about sooo many things that most of them, if not all, are untrue. These fake stories make people paranoid and afraid—just like the person who forwarded the messages. Their intentions are good but without thinking—and researching—these stories contribute to the rampant paranoia that sweeps people off their feet. They would rather err on the side of caution when it only takes a few minutes, heck, a few seconds to verify online. Christians, don’t spread rumors like bomb threats, terrorist attacks, viral infections, your Facebook account getting deleted. Ask people who may know better before forwarding anything to your friends.

There are only three things and I can write so many words just to make my point acrosss. Friends and fellow believers, we have got to be careful about what we do online. Let us be wise and responsible on how we behave online. I can’t tell you how many I have privately messaged correcting them that this and this is fake. Many have taken back what they said and have started to ask me first to verify and if I don’t know it and ask them to wait for a few minutes so that I can check it out.

If you want to check out for yourself you can visit the following websites like snopes.com and urbanlegendsonline.com.

Read Part 2 HERE.