As a young girl, I could often be found curled up on the front porch swing with a Nancy Drew mystery. I can’t say I was always patient waiting for the truth to unfold. I’d sneak a few chapters forward for clues to help me solve the mystery before it was time to be solved. I simply had to know. I love a good mystery, and admittedly, a good conspiracy as well.
The last year has provided multiple real-life situations leaving many of us confused and feeling as if we are living inside complete mysteries. A global pandemic, shut-downs, election year drama, and riots have wearied us to the point of seeking understanding and answers.
We are people who want to see truth prevail, justice win, and mercy reign. When layer upon layer of events leave us confused, we naturally set out to solve the mysteries. At the same time, in an age of information overload and experts presenting conflicting information, we are left wondering where the truth lies.
The era is upon us where anyone can make a video or post of anything they want. Many of these claim a special knowledge from God or a secret insider knowledge they want to enlighten the world with. This knowledge becomes both captivating and addictive. Thus, we must fine tune our discernment radars.
After the inauguration, I began to see videos circulating claiming “It’s not over yet.” Looking back over the past several months, I noticed a similar theme running through social media threads. Conspiracies and internet rumors about the pandemic, child pornography rings, child sacrifices, political party coups, and the list goes on. My intrigue was piqued because I saw something within the human heart worth exploring.
Many of these conspiracies continue to escalate and hold people captive as they promise a false hope. A hope that the mysteries will be solved, a cure will be found, the bad guys caught and punished. As hope cravers, we continue watching because we want to see all the mysteries solved. This isn’t a bad thing, but possibly an area which needs a realignment.
As believers, our hope is in Christ, yet we see this desperation for earthly hope ramping up. This is nothing new to human history. Jesus brought a heavenly kingdom to earth, but the people demanded earthly solutions to their heavenly problems. They desired immediate relief.
Secret insider knowledge
Eve ate from the tree that promised a secret knowledge, one she believed had been withheld from her. Today we are seeing a hunger for secret knowledge which culture is believing has been withheld. The enemy is crafty but not creative.
The serpent appealed to Eve’s curiosity for wisdom and knowledge while casting doubt about God’s goodness. Did God really say? No, you won’t die. (Gen 3:1,4) “In fact, God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Gen3:5)
Once Eve considered the lie that knowledge had been withheld from her, she saw the tree, which God had instructed Adam to leave alone, differently. “Then the woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom….” (Gen 3:6)
God wanted to protect Adam and Eve, and He wants to protect us. We don’t need to see all there is to see about good and evil. Only God can carry that type of load. Yet, we continue reaching for the internet of knowledge that will not feed us what God desires for us.
We are hope hungry with appetites for knowledge, answers, and wisdom. How do we filter through the conflicting messages and conspiracies flooding our world?
Doesn’t God actually reveal secret things to some? Yes, He does, but not to all who claim it. As discerning humans, we recognize that viewers equal profits, and many of these video creators and platform builders are making enormous profits off our consumption. So, we must become greater discerners in an age of growing deception and confusion, realizing our God is not a God of confusion.
Let’s pray for discernment in greater measures.
3 Principles for navigating conspiracies, secret knowledge, and information overload
In the book of Zechariah we see themes we can apply today as we discern what do with the onslaught of conspiracy-laced information.
- Speak truth– “These are the things you must do: Speak truth to one another; make true decisions within your gates.”Zechariah 8:16.
Hitting the share button is easy. Much of what we read or watch in regard to modern day conspiracies is full of lies. Since we simply don’t know what is true and what is false, maybe we should slow the spread of potentially false information.
Stop and pray. Is the information speaking truth? If in doubt, don’t spread.
- Do not plot evil – “Do not plot evil in your hearts against your neighbor.” Zechariah 8:17
Many of these conspiracies are stirring anger and bitterness in hearts not normally prone to such. They strike at the core of us that seeks justice and mercy. While most of us don’t go around “plotting evil”, we can harbor evil thoughts in our heart. Above all we should guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23).
- Love truth and peace – “…Therefore, love truth and peace.” Zechariah 8:19
Truth and peace go together. The truth sets us free (John 8:32). We are to speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15). We love truth and peace (Zech 8:19). Some of the swirling conspiracy chaos claims truth but lacks peace. Even as a consumer rather than a sharer of this information, it robs us of our own personal peace. Within our own hearts we lack peace. And we certainly see in the current cultural climate true love is waning.
Desperate times calls for desperate hope
In this addiction for secret knowledge, this clinging to conspiracies, is a desperation for hope. Hope that truth will prevail. Hope that justice will rule. Hope that evil will be dispelled. We are surrounded by people desperately desperate for hope. Many are digging for anything to offer some sense of the chaos. They’ve placed their hopes in the ones pumping out videos and posts.
From Hope Craver to Hope Bringer
We can bring the change the world desperately needs. The world needs hope, love, and peace in larger doses. My pastor often says, “Be a bringer,” when he encourages us to invite. Let’s be bringers of what the world needs.
Hope. We all want it, all need it. And it has already come.
“Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Zechariah 9:9
Our king came. And He is coming again. We don’t need to fix our eyes so intently on this world and what is swirling about. Let’s lift up our eyes to our King and share the true truth with the hope-starved world.
We’ve been set free to become prisoners of hope.
“Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double.” Zechariah 9:12