Fact Check the World With the Word of God

Shellie Tomlinson

by Shellie Tomlinson


People have been trying to mess with our minds and reinvent reality a long time before the term “gaslighting” earned official new word status in Webster’s dictionary – but doesn’t it seem like our world has taken it to an art form? Thanks, I see you nodding. We’re expected to disbelieve our eyes and accept whatever position the loudest cultural voices are holding out as truth, reimagined for the twenty-first century. Reality need not apply.

It reminds me of an old fairy tale about The Emperor’s New Clothes, where a vain fashion-conscious emperor and his subjects were tricked into believing the emperor was parading through the city in a fancy new suit of clothes, when in fact the man was naked. Why did they fall for such nonsense? Because they had swallowed a lie. They believed the new suit was made out of magic cloth and if you couldn’t see it you were “unwise” and “unfit for your position.” No one wanted to fit that description! The story delivers a powerful punch on the pressure of social conformity and the self-deception it encourages—and it reads like current events.

Propaganda has a Long History

It has always been difficult to discern who is telling the truth and who has an alternative story they want us to believe, but you and I don’t have to fall for whatever unsubstantiated facts are being heralded in the town square. There’s a Bible story in John’s gospel that teaches us how we can know Truth.

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20 Peter turned around and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them—the one who also had leaned back on His chest at the supper and said, “Lord, who is the one who is betraying You?” 21 So Peter, upon seeing him, said to Jesus, “Lord, and what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!”
23 Therefore this account went out among the brothers, that that disciple would not die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but only, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?” (John 21:20-23)

To recap, John tells us a rumor went around among the believers that Jesus had said John wouldn’t die, but that’s “not what Jesus said.” How the rumor started is immaterial. Whether the disciples meant to twist it or not isn’t the point, either. The lesson for us is that the story got sideways somewhere and if anyone was going to know the truth they would need to go back to exactly what Jesus, the Word, had actually said.

Fact-Checking with the Most Reliable Source

This, friends, is our answer when we want the facts checked but we’re justifiably suspicious about who can be trusted to check the facts. The short answer: none of them. Even our best fact checking is fallible. We must go to Truth Himself. God’s Word is our sure foundation. In an ever-changing culture, sure footing is found in putting our trust in the only One who doesn’t change and letting the Holy Spirit teach us how to fact check the world by the Word. There’s a place for us to reason and think, but we hold human opinions and conclusions lightly.

I’m not saying it will be easy when we’re being threatened to go along to get along or risk being painted as “unwise” and “unfit.” We’ll need the strength of our convictions that God’s Word is total truth: not partial, and not fluid. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit is present to reinforce our wobbly knees if we call to Him. It will also mean counting the cost and determining that Jesus is worth any threat of cancellation or ostracization. So, no it won’t be easy. But oh, it will be worth it, for He is.

After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” Genesis 15:1


Shellie rushing tomlinson

Shellie Rushing Tomlinson is a multi-published author, speaker, and farmer’s wife from Louisiana known for saying “Life can be hard when it’s good, but it’s always better when you’re laughing.” Connect with her on Instagram and Facebook o. Her newest book is Seizing the Good Life: Discover Peace and Joy Through the Study of John’s Gospel.