“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor …” (Isaiah 61:1, ESV)
Have you ever noticed that there is not much good news? When you go to the major news outlets, there is relatively little in the way of positive stories. The headlines are filled with political quarreling, world tensions, community violence, and catastrophic disasters.
There are shock and awe. Hyperbole, exaggeration, and sensationalism are used to attract readers and viewers. Many headlines are written in such a way to get you to click on the link. It’s called clickbait. There is the old proverbial: “If it bleeds, it leads.” So much of the news is produced not to inform but to generate profits.
Such fearmongering makes consumers anxious. There is fear that a politician will be elected. There is fear a disease will become an epidemic. There is fear that the climate will kill us. There is fear that conflict will break out into World War III. Most of the time these doomsday scenarios come to nothing.
A few years ago, I gave up watching the evening news on tv. I cannot tell you the last time I watched the news on tv. I am better for it. And I believe we would all do well to focus on the “news” less. Endless consumption of news does not do good for our spirits.
The News Does Not Make You More Informed
There is the idea that it is important to stay informed. But does consuming the news make you more informed? The news often focuses on selected current events that are American-centric. There is so much more that happens in the world than the half-dozen curated news stories that are recycled day-after-day.
I would argue that the more we focus on the mainstream media the more ignorant and less informed we are. It is a big world out there. The mainstream media has a way of narrowing our focus more than broadening our horizons.
You Don’t Need Realtime Reports
Today, we get notifications on our smartphones as it is happening in realtime. News once traveled much slower. It could take weeks and even months for significant news to travel overseas. Are we any better off because we get our news instantly? There are few things that we need to know at the moment it is happening.
It’s Not All That Important
Author John Maxwell says: “You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.” Most of what we are presented is not that important. The majority of stories that are presented have little to no bearing on our lives.
You Will Not Miss Out
If there is a story that is important, you will not miss out. Everyone will be talking about it. You will find out. Don’t worry.
It’s Biased and Inaccurate
There are news liberal and conservative news outlets. There are other outlets that claim to be unbiased. But often the ones that claim to be unbiased are the ones that are the most biased. It is hard oftentimes to tell what is true. The headlines today are about impeachment. Some headlines will read that the Democrats are winning. Some headlines will say that the Republicans are winning. Who is to believe anything?
Over the years, I have been interviewed by reporters. I always found it curious when the story was aired or published. The news presented rarely reflected the true nature of the event that was being covered.
God Calls You To Be A Contributor
It is a consumer culture. We consume tv, sports, social media, material things, and more. Most people overwhelmingly consume much more than they ever contribute. Excessive consumption hinders us from contributing in a meaningful way.
I would challenge you to move from a consumer to a contributor. There is much in the news that we can do little about. But there are many ways that God has blessed you to make a difference in the lives of people around you as well as people in places far away.
Focus on the Good News
We can’t totally avoid the news. The news of the world will affect us. We can’t escape it. But that is why we need God’s good news. He sent a Savior. God has something to say about the world’s news. Before we consume the world’s bad news, let’s contemplate God’s good news.
- Do you find yourself anxious about the happenings in this world? Do you find yourself obsessing about events in the news?
- How can you eliminate your pattern of consumption that you might contribute more for God’s work?
Thank you Lord for the good news of Jesus Christ. Thank you for the gift of salvation and new life. There is so much bad news in this world. We are easily given to needless fear and anxiety. Help us to be discerning of what is noble and true. Give us your Holy Spirit to live each day with faith in your promises. In Jesus’ name. Amen.