Mark Twain is purported to have said, "A lie can travel around the world and back again while the truth is lacing up its boots." And that was long before the internet. There appears to be, in our wounded human nature, something that makes us willing, almost anxious, to hear bad things about people we don't like. It is not new. In the gospel today we hear,
John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.
Spin as we call it is as old as sin itself. 21st century technology has simply provided this evil inclination in us with new tools. Now we can all be publishers, but as Christians we have a particular responsibility to the Truth. After all, we claim to be followers of the one who is The Way, The Truth, and the Life. When the candle is given at the Rite of Baptism, the minister says, "...[he/she] is to walk always as a child of the light."
Among the titles for Satan are: Father of lies, and Prince of Darkness.
Before we post, share, tweet or retweet; we should always ask ourselves, "Am I sure this is the truth?" And then when we are sure it is true, we still need to ask, "Does it add to the light or the darkness?" Many thing can be true, and still be words of darkness. If we tear down rather than build up, if we open old wounds rather than bind them up, the we are still working for the darkness.
Social Media is a magnificent invention it can literally unite the world. And nearly a third of that world professes in some way to be Christian. As we continue to light the candles of our advent wreaths, let us also be the one who work to transform social media into places of light and truth for all people.