We have been chuckling at the news lately. We oftentimes enjoy sitting down to catch up on world events. It is good to be informed. We want to know what is happening with ISIS, the blizzard on the East Coast, and relevant economic or health news. However, we are discovering that the news is becoming increasingly hyped up. The words they choose are intended to create an emotional response, e.g. “worst storm ever” or “town in absolute fear.” Immediately, you hear these words and your anxiety goes up. At times, we have joked about the actual commentary. Fact: there is a storm that is heading towards Chicago. Hyped up: get in your car NOW, drive to the store, and buy food for a month because the worst storm of 2015 is going to hit. Honestly, it is a bit ridiculous.
The natural response is to grow anxious. We start to worry about the world. We get nervous about the state of affairs in our country. If we watch enough news, it can lead to depression and possibly a jaded perspective towards life. On many occasions I have talked to people who relay something they have read or heard on the news with the same tone of urgency or despair, “Did you hear how the healthcare laws are going to destroy our country?” Destroy. Really. Or, in some cases, the news is merely opinion. Someone mentioned to me that we live in an information-based society. We have access to so much information. We can Google a word and discover encyclopedias on it. While this is true, I don’t think we live in an information-based society. I think we live an opinion-based society (yes, I am aware of the irony of sharing an opinion that our society is focused on opinion). But it is true. We love to hear opinions whether on sports talk, in chat rooms, or even the news. In many cases, the news is presented as op-ed rather than factual accounts. Yes, there is truth in the midst of story; however, it is manipulated in such a way to make us feel or think in a certain way. The end result is a change in actions. I make decisions that are cautionary based on the news. I become overly protective of my kids. I frantically check the weather. Now, I, myself, might be exaggerating a bit. However, the reality is that we oftentimes allow our minds, hearts, or actions to be directed by things outside of our control (in this case the news) that is not even accurate to reality.
Some words of Jesus come to mind.
“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
“Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2)
Both of these passages encourage me to find my center in Christ. My emotions don’t have to be swayed in every direction they are first grounded in Christ. I can watch the news with objectivity even if it hyped up as long as my heart is resting in Christ. I can then filter it through His vantage point. Or, I can hear the biased-laden viewpoint and discern whether or not something is true. Biblical truth, the Holy Spirit, and common sense will inform me. I can relax, watch the news, and make sensible conclusions. I don’t have to be hyped up. I can approach life with informed, steady awareness. Oh, this is much better than a life or frenzy or paranoia.