What to Remember When You Watch the News

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I have always watched the evening news, even as a youngster. My parents liked to tell the story how I begged them not to stop in Lebanon to eat because I was afraid, after having listened to a news report about the bombing in Beirut (this happened in October 1983 and I was 4 at the time). Of course, that was in the country of Lebanon and not in the city by the same name located thirty miles east of Nashville. Then, the TV, newspaper, and radio were the only means of disseminating information about local, national, and international events. By the time you received the news it was already dated, but the internet changed everything. Now it is possible to have a report on events immediately after they transpire, and many times the capability exists to get some information while the situation is unfolding. Smartphones, tweets, texts, and satellites bring news from every corner of the globe every minute of every hour of every day. Sadly, much of the news is bad. Terrorist attacks, school shootings, criminal behavior of all sorts, an outbreak of deadly diseases, political turmoil, and other negative narratives constantly fill our computer and television screens. It can be overwhelming and depressing if we allow our minds to fixate on such matters. “Things have never been worse” or “The world is filled with evil people” or “You are not safe anywhere” are just a few of the reactionary phrases you may have uttered or heard uttered in response. What do we do with all this bad news?

Listen to the words of the Psalmist in Psalm 112:7: “He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.” Granted, those in the ancient world did not have the capability we have in accessing constant news from all over the planet, but the principle in the passage we must heed. We place our trust in the faithful Lord who rules over the universe and everything in it. God has not outsourced His dominion or turned over control to another. Yes, we do live in a world where for some “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4). But, do not forget the assurance of 1 John 4:4: “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” Remember this when you watch, read, or listen to the latest bad news.

Furthermore, we must remember we have the Good News. Everyone wants to hear news that is good, helpful, and encouraging. The wise man noted: “good news refreshes the bones” in Proverbs 15:30. Again in Proverbs 25:25: “Like cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.” If you allow me to abuse the English language for a moment: the best Good News that anyone will ever receive is the message of the Gospel of Jesus the Christ!

The announcement of the birth of our Savior was: “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11). Stating His mission, Jesus declared: “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose” in Luke 4:43. Following His death and victorious resurrection, the apostles and other Christians canvassed the world like Philip who “preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women” (Acts 8:12). Paul affirms: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” Peter reminds in 1 Peter 1:24-25: “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever. And this word is the good news that was preached to you.”

When we watch the evening recap about the latest tragedy, be reminded that the Gospel is the only cure for sin-sick souls. Can we stop natural disasters, end poverty, reverse discrimination, curtail crime, or eliminate all bad news? No! But, we must remember our God is still in control and we must share the hope the Good News His Son Jesus offers to all who will obey Him!