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Being Trustworthy in a Polarized Time

Have we ever been in a more divided and polarized time? Getting the facts when all the news has to be filtered for implicit bias or intentional spin makes understanding the world around us more difficult than ever before. I hear reasonable people, smart people who I have a great deal of respect for, arguing quite confidently from mutually exclusive positions, each convinced by partisan curated news sources.

Why is it so hard to find the truth? Who do you trust to give you facts you can believe? What is my responsibility in this? What is yours?

Now more than ever, each of us on social media is a news source. Am I a reliable? Am I trustworthy? Are you?

Thursday night, our President, after being asked about QAnon and then his circulating of a rumor on Twitter that Joe Biden orchestrated having SEAL Team Six killed to cover up faking the death of Osama Bin Laden, said, “That was a retweet. That was an opinion of somebody and that was a retweet. I’ll put it out there. People can decide for themselves. I don’t take a position.”

I could not disagree more strongly that our responsibility ends there. This makes being a reliable source irrelevant. We each have a duty to understand, or at least take seriously what we put on social media before we open our mouths by hitting send. We are talking to friends, followers, or whatever the platform calls them, who care about our opinions. The higher your profile and the larger the audience, the greater the weight of that responsibility. These are people who trust you. Don’t lead them astray or be careless with your influence.

Let’s be better. To do less is nothing more than gossip.

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another…Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
Ephesians 4:25 & 29

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