Who can we believe? How do we know if something is true? What is valid when the term “fake news” is attributed by politicians to the media, by the media to politicians, and to many of the posts appearing in our social media feeds? These are questions many are asking themselves in the face of statements that defraud, confuse, or take advantage of others through misrepresentation, which can condition folks to unknowingly believe even larger lies later on.
When I’ve struggled to know what is true and what isn’t, I’ve found it helpful to look for a deeper understanding of truth. Christian Science defines “Truth” as a synonym for God. Infinite Truth is always communicating to us what is actually true, the spiritual reality that reflects God’s nature as divine Love. Opening our hearts and minds to what we are as the expressions of that Truth and Love brings to light the intuitive discernment within us. It helps us distinguish what is not a genuine expression of goodness and integrity.
The wisdom of not just accepting whatever comes down the pike was pinpointed by many in the Bible, including Christ Jesus’ follower John, when he said, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (I John 4:1).
John had witnessed the manufacturing of lies and untruths in relation to the budding Christian teachings that he followed, and he saw the efforts made to convince others of the authenticity of these falsehoods. The populace needed to be alert to what information was being circulated and then make their own judgments about what was true or not. John knew that looking to God with a sincere desire to better understand divine Truth would enable us to see through any deception, and to discern what we need to know.
Once my family had to deal with a type of “fake news” when a person who was buying our house started fabricating lies about us that threatened the transaction. For instance, at one point, a claim was made that we had stolen a fixture. In actuality, there had never been such a fixture in the house.
I decided to pray about this situation. My prayers affirmed that lies could not prevail because divine Truth is all-powerful. Each one of us has the ability to discern what is true as well as to spot and reject deceptions. I affirmed that I myself could not fall for the “fake news” that any of God’s children could be dishonest or mean-spirited, because being truthful is the real nature of God’s creation. In this light the man that we were dealing with had integrity, even though his outward actions were not in line with his true, spiritual identity. And similarly, as a child of God, I could not be subject to feelings of anger, frustration, or resentment. This realization of what both of us truly were helped me feel at peace.
Ultimately, all was appropriately resolved, the house changed hands, and both parties moved on. Truth had prevailed.
We can always turn trustingly to divine Truth and realize that nothing can ultimately distort or hide it. Knowing this leads us to more wisely differentiate between the authentic and the fake in all that we see and hear – and to trust Truth to prevail.