Fake Service Animals & Fake News

fake“Fake news” is a modern buzzword in our society. (I know it’s 2 words).  Web sites will create fake news stories to get people to their site (to gain advertising revenue), and then unsuspecting people will believe the lies and forward the links on social media.   I do not know what the answer is, but I know what the answer is not.  The answer is not to have the government or Facebook decide what is real or “fake”.  That is the first step toward censoring real stories or events that the government or Facebook happens to disagree with.

Fake service animal is not so common a term.  In my younger days “service animals” basically consisted of guide dogs for the blind and  visually impaired. Now they have dogs that can alert a diabetic about blood sugar levels.  It is unbelievable what they can do now.  There was an article in the Detroit Free Press this week about fake service animals.  More and more people are calling their animals (dogs, turkeys, chickens, miniature ponies, etc) “service animals”, even going so far as paying to get online certifications, when in fact they are not.  There are a myriad of reasons people would lie, including to save money, not having anywhere else to leave a pet, and not wanting to place a pet in a crate in the cargo area.  Airlines and other businesses are in a no-win situation worried about bad publicity in trying to deal with the abuses.  People who really need service animals do not appreciate the phonies any more than the businesses do, because an improperly trained animal can give the real service animals a bad reputation.

Another fake in our society is a “fake Gospel”.  Yet the fake Gospel in not new to our society.  Paul warned Timothy about it in 2 Timothy 3: “Evil people and impostors will become worse, deceiving and being deceived.”  The enemy of God does not mind if you believe the fake Gospel.  The fake Gospel does not save you.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer had a term for the fake Gospel calling it “cheap grace”.  He wrote,

“Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”

The true Gospel is costly.  It is my prayer that you are not deceived.  Once again from Bonhoeffer:

“Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: ‘Ye were bought at a price’, and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.”






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