Yesterday, I received both good tidings and bad. One was a forwarded WhatsApp voice message and the other an internet link.
Three weeks ago the Holy Spirit led me to re-read Isaiah 52:7: ‘How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”’
What I took away from this was that
I should focus my writing, at least for now, on encouragement, hope, and love. I guess that this is a pretty good mandate for all of us.
So, bearing this in mind, I now wondered how I should respond to the very disturbing voice message passed on to me.
The Voice Message
The message was from a man who claimed to have been informed by his GP that those living in Gauteng were about to experience the full might of the pandemic that has stalked us for the last three months. He went on to say that the virus was causing bizarre conditions not previously witnessed and that we should all place ourselves back into Level 5 lockdown. He added a lot of fear-inducing detail and advice. The timing coincided with the latest pronouncement by our Minister of Health of what he called the pending COVID-19 ‘storm’, and this gave the voice message an appearance of legitimacy.
The ‘bad news’ went viral and I even had it forwarded to me by a friend now living in the United States. Fortunately, the doctor who was ‘quoted’ as the source got to know about the message and immediately disclaimed it. The guilty party then owned up and made a public apology, claiming that the message was only intended for his immediate circle to shock them into being more careful. Hmmmmm!
I am writing about this because the dissemination of this sort of ‘news’ is such a serious issue. The message must have caused fear and anxiety to rise in everyone who heard it. This wave of fear will continue to many more people as it continues to be passed on, despite the disclaimers made. It was a blatant lie in parts and, at best, misinformation from someone not qualified to advise others on such matters. Any caution it could have instilled was overwhelmed by the negative effects of fear, anxiety, and anger.
However, it has made me think about the many people who must have received the message but did not pass it on. So, to those folks (hopefully you dear reader) I say:
- Well done for exercising common sense, for applying logic and identifying the several ‘red flags’ that indicated that the message was ‘fake’.
- Thank you for not passing it on ‘just in case’ it was true; you prevented many people from experiencing anxiety, fear, and confusion.
- Thank you for acting responsibly.
The Good News Internet Link
The second communication I received yesterday was from my son. He sent me THIS. I scrolled down over page upon page of good-news stories from around the world. Not anecdotes or testimonies, but mini-presentations of things happening in our world that are positive, innovative, productive, and world-bettering. Now, this is something worth forwarding to others.
The news items in the ‘beautifulnewsdaily’ collection are economic, medical, financial, and so on. We Christians have good news that tops them all and is always worthy of being shared.
God reigns. Peace has been restored between the Godhead and humanity through Jesus Christ of Nazareth. All who believe can be saved. God is with us now and we can be with him eternally.
So, again: ‘How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”’
I have previously written in more detail about the real plague of false news and I strongly recommend that you read THIS, even if for the second time 😉