It is no news that “fake news” is now a real concept we have to grapple with. There are many forms of media today and most are easily shared and accessed, meaning that what is fact, fiction, or simply funny all exist on a similar plane, particularly on the Internet. This puts some measure of responsibility on the hearer to be discerning about the message and messenger.
Play the following video [4:09].
How to teach kids to spot fake news
- Are you good at distinguishing whether information is true or false? How do you decide? (Answers will vary. Students may feel they are quite savvy, and/or have been taught well like the students in the video; others may feel the opposite or somewhere in between. Students may discern fact from fiction using methods mentioned in the video or other methods.)
- How do truth and falsehoods impact your daily life? (Accept all reasonable answers. Students’ answers may illustrate the following ideas. False rumors can cause real pain. Deceit breaks trust. Lies can be tempting to tell to get you out of a tight spot but can become a tangled web. The truth can hurt, or be awkward to speak, but often leads to clarity. Knowing the truth about a situation helps you make a good choice, or may provide understanding or closure.)
It is important to understand the various forms of information you interact with and how to know what is factual, so that your opinions and decisions can be well informed. It is also important to be aware of the many messages you take in day to day and to wisely discern what is true and good and right, avoiding lies that are tempting but are truly a trap.
Even Jesus experienced just this kind of situation. Today we’ll discover how He discerned between those tempting traps and the truth.
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You can find Steps 2 and 3 in your teacher’s guide; your Step 4 appears below. To purchase a teacher's guide, please visit: Bible-in-Life or Echoes
Even Jesus couldn’t avoid being bombarded with a multitude of mixed messages about what was true about God and Himself and the world. His hometown, His disciples, other religious leaders, and Satan himself all offered their ideas, whether their intentions were earnest or sinister. Jesus’ life reveals that a firm foundation of knowing the Hebrew Scriptures, and having a close personal relationship with His Father God kept Him grounded in the truth.
- What messages do you receive about what is important in life and what you should be, do, or pursue? (Answers will vary. Some voices cherish success, others happiness, and others a responsible and simple life. Some value riches, others minimalism; some family, some independence. We receive mixed messages on looks and love and all aspects of our lives.)
- How do you evaluate which messages are true? (Accept all reasonable answers. Scripture, prayer, and Jesus’ lived example guide us. God can also use the wisdom of others whom we trust, the Spirit’s prompting, or even trial and error as we learn over time what fades and what lasts.)
- Which lies are most tempting to believe? (Accept all reasonable answers. Answers will vary based on each student’s personality and preferences. It is most tempting to believe lies that would have us pursue what we already like and do what pleases us.)
Not sure what’s true or what to do? Search the story of Scripture! If you find the Bible to be ancient, confounding, or troubling, consider that it records and speaks to real life, over a period of cultures, time periods, and through various genres. Trust that this collection can speak to real life today. The Bible is a treasure trove of wisdom if we turn to it and search it and open ourselves to it.
This week challenge yourself to dig deeper into it to see what it might have to say about the temptations and troubles and talking points of today. Bring back any nuggets of truth you dig up to share with the rest of us. If you find a truth that is particularly relevant to you, consider writing or attaching that message to the bottom or inside of one of your pairs of shoes. When you face temptation, or become mystified by the messages the world whispers to you, subtly tap your foot, stamping out the lie, and remember the truth that grounds you.
Close in prayer.
(David C Cook is not affiliated with and does not endorse any website or any other media listed on these pages. At the time of writing, David C Cook editors carefully review the referenced material and non-referenced web page content. However, due to the nature of the Internet, non-cited content on the website [including pop-ups, links, and ads] changes frequently and is beyond our control. Please review carefully before showing links in the classroom.)