I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lordin the land of the living!
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
Psalm 27.13-14, ESV
I typically try to limit my consumption of “the news” because being prone to depression, it interferes with my ability to stay positive. No matter which party runs the government or what year in which I find myself, ninety-nine percent of news is bad. Greed, corruption, selfishness, egotism, and a lust for power have plagued people for millennia. There really is nothing new under the sun.
Because there are people I love who are working without pay due to the recent government shutdown, I’ve been watching the headlines with greater frequency, hoping for resolution.
Unfortunately, the news has been disheartening at best.
In the middle of this government shutdown, Gillette released an advertisement unfavorable to men. Within a few days of that uproar, a group of teenage boys—who did not retaliate against slur-hurling adults—became the target of a vicious smear campaign based on a misleading video clip. When evidence came to light that the boys were not in the wrong, the media made a quiet backpedal, caring little about the damage they had done.
The icing on this foul cake, however, came with the passage of the Reproductive Health Act by the New York State legislature. This law allows abortions to be performed by PAs, Nurses, Midwives, and Doctors all the way up to a child’s due date if they feel the mother’s health is at risk. Furthermore, if an unborn child is a harmed prior to 24 weeks gestation, there are no criminal charges for the offender. I am still in shock.
The yarn of bad news keeps unraveling.
What should our perspective be?
Set Your Mind on Christ
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
Colossians 3.1-2, ESV
The world teems with troubles. Getting bogged down in the everyday is as easy as getting wind-blown in West Texas. Choose Christ everyday. Choose to meditate on the hope he has set before us. Remember that we are simply passing through; earth is not the ultimate destination.
An eternal mindset does not happen on its own; we have to set our minds. Dig into the Bible daily. Commit the words to memory. Surround yourself with reminders of the truth.
Set your mind on things above…
Pray & Work. Work & Pray.
See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
The first step to peace is in prayer. There may be other factors affecting your ability to be calm, and I recommend looking into remedies for the physical aspects of anxiety. However, if your anxieties are primarily circumstantial, start by handing them over to God in prayer.
The above passage in Thessalonians also tells us we have work to do. Don’t seek vengeance, seek to do good to others. Take the focus off self and turn your heart toward the need of another. There is a time and place for widespread activism, but we can start making changes in our world simply by reaching out to the people near us, including our family.
Are we hurting our family or seeking their good? Are we helping our friends or leaving them in the lurch? As someone famously said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Pray and work. Work and pray.
If you do read the news, take time to discuss it with your children. The same day the New York Legislature passed that pro-abortion bill, my children and I read the chapter regarding the punishment for child sacrifice under the old law. (This was in the course of our normal study, I did not go hunting for this passage on purpose!) The timing was perfect for discussion. We had the opportunity to talk about how God feels about the murder of innocents. The Bible, in spite of being “old,” reveals that people don’t change much throughout history. People are still sacrificing children, but instead of offering them to a stone idol, they are sacrificing them to the idol of self-interest.
Don’t allow “bad news” to take your eyes off Jesus.
Listen to what Jesus said to His disciples in the hours leading up to his death. He knew they needed comfort for the struggle ahead.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
John 16.33, ESV
We are going to have trouble in this world, but Jesus has already overcome the world, Satan, and death. Better things are waiting for us! Set your mind, work, pray, and teach. Jesus will go with you every step of the way, no matter how bad the news gets.