Wednesday, October 21 2020 - 8:10 PM
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Mind Poison

Social media is a powerful thing for good or ill. I’m using the term loosely because in this context it refers to more than Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Before the invention of media technologies, people had ways to communicate and create a buzz. Crowd manipulation is not a recent thing. This passage provides an example of what I’m referring to.

“Paul and Barnabas went to the Jewish synagogue [in Iconium] and preached with such power that a great number of both Jews and Greeks became believers. Some of the Jews, however, spurned God’s message and poisoned the minds of the Gentiles against Paul and Barnabas. But the apostles stayed there a long time, preaching boldly about the grace of the Lord. And the Lord proved their message was true by giving them power to do miraculous signs and wonders. But the people of the town were divided in their opinions about them. Some sided with the Jews, and some with the apostles” (Acts 14:1-4, NLT).

The text says, “Some of the Jews, however, spurned God’s message and poisoned the minds of the Gentiles against Paul and Barnabas.” How did they poison their minds? Did they call a meeting? Did they go door to door? We don’t know. One thing we know is that they used misinformation to confuse the thinking of their audience. They made it their mission to confuse and deflect.

We see a lot of this today. Here we are in the thick of the Information Age, yet we’re surrounded by misguided people who reject knowledge and discernment (think flat earthers and conspiracy theorists).

Lies, hearsay, false accusations, fake news, innuendoes, rumors, half truths, gossip and name calling are “rat poison” that ruins consumers by destroying their souls. It is typically dispensed on talk radio, cable TV, among friends, and on social media. Beware!‬

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2, NIV). Another way to say it could be, “Don’t allow your minds to be poisoned by the deviant ideas of the undisciplined of the world.”

In a broken age where evil wields the hearts and minds of so many, there are endless opportunities to promote life, righteousness, truth-telling and compassion. Focus on the positive and watch hearts blossom with joy and hope!

If you enjoyed this, you might like, Lost in the Dark | Restoring Civil Discourse

Rich DuBose writes from Northern California.

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About Rich DuBose

Rich DuBose

is director of Church Support Services for the Pacific Union Conference.

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