We are overloaded with information. In 2010, the amount of data created, consumed and stored was two zettabytes (or two billion terabytes). By 2022, that number had increased to 94 zettabytes—and it is expected to grow to 194 in just two years. I tried to figure out how many zeros that was, but my math genius sister didn’t answer the phone.
Humans are just not created to take in that much information, and the amount is on a sharp incline with no end in sight. So, with all that information out there, how do we decide what to pay attention to? How do we know what’s helpful and what’s not? And, most importantly, how do we know what are lies and what is truth?
The answer to that question depends on your world view, but I hope if we call ourselves Jesus followers, we all believe in the Bible as “the divine rule of Christian faith and practice,” as The Salvation Army’s first doctrine states, and also that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Empowering our kids to challenge information overload and cultural lies starts with us learning how to gracefully do the same. This learning starts with reading the Bible. Let me share the most important advice I have ever received—let the Bible teach you what the Bible means. Learn to observe, interpret and apply Scripture. When you have a question, compare Scripture with Scripture.
The Word of God is alive and can change lives. And our thinking.
Next, we need to find some sort of method to discern between the Word and the world. What is the world telling us is true, and how does that compare or contrast with what the Bible tells us? Simple—we chew and spit. We chew on the message; we think about how it lines up with the Bible and God’s character or design for our lives. Does it line up? Great. Digest that message and let it do its work. Is it in contrast to the Bible and God’s commands? Spit out that message right away. The longer it sits, the more we find ways to twist Scripture to fit a lie.
After we get into a good rhythm of Bible study and learn to chew and spit, we can teach our kids to do the same. Try using the ROAR method, from one of my favourite books, Mama Bear Apologetics: Empowering Your Kids to Challenge Cultural Lies, by Hillary Morgan Ferrer.
R—recognize the message. What values are being elevated? What is the world view behind the message? Chew and spit (or digest) what you hear.
O—offer discernment. God’s truth has the aroma of Christ, not the stench of selfrighteousness. See things accurately, affirm the truth and reject the bad.
A—argue for a healthier approach. We need to understand the reason why one idea is truth and the other is a lie. We need to see the world for the broken mess that it is while understanding the hope Christ provides.
R—reinforce through discussion, discipleship and prayer. It is not enough for our kids to hear us talk about the truth; they must understand how we are to live the truth.
Here’s the thing. There’s a lot of information out there, and a lot of that information does not line up with the Bible. It’s only going to get harder to discern what we should digest and what we need to (gracefully) spit back out. But this is nothing new—it has just become more difficult as information has overloaded our lives.
But let me leave you with the best thing I can—words from the Bible: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). Be a person in the world who refuses to be shaped by the world. Teach your kids to ROAR. Teach your grandkids to ROAR. And “do everything in love” (1 Corinthians 16:14).
Captain Bhreagh Rowe is the community ministries officer, St. Albert Church and Community Centre, Alta.
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