What Do We Focus On?
Typical headlines today. I dread them getting any worse!
Half the nation is furious at our President for making fun of a 16 year old who spoke what she believed about climate change. A few weeks ago when a young boy was viciously attacked for wearing a MAGA cap, that same half cheered. A father decided to strap his daughter, looks to be about 4-5 years old, to his chest and go bungee jumping, resulting in outrage from every angle. A well known reporter declares America to be a 'Vicious, Nasty Country', because he opposes the current leadership.
Apparently the law about which bathroom to use is back in the news again, meanwhile, men in women's short shorts are blocking traffic while they dance around protesting supposed climate change that according to them "will render the human race extinct". Not sure how you like your burger, but apparently the plant based meatless burgers are identical to dog food, according to a California University study.
In Florida, a cop arrested two girls, one age 6 and one age 8. He's suspended. In NY, a shop owner has been charged with murder for beating to death the man who was robbing him. Apparently the law we've had for decades against flag burning isn't really a law, so some folks are pushing for one. In Africa, an American tourist, a young expectant mother, has been found hacked to death. In Chicago, more people are murdered weekly than in 10 other cities the same size combined, but the blame lies on adjacent states that allow gun sales. And the final surprise, the Emmy Awards managed to hit yet another record low with their ratings.
I know the above is about two paragraphs too many of what's going on in our world, but those are only a few of the headlines. I went a little too far to make a point. We are bombarded with negative stuff all day, every day from every angle if we allow ourselves to be exposed to that. If we think such continual negativity, a play by play description almost of what is going on in our hate-filled world isn't affecting us, we really ought to reconsider. If we spend our time day in and day out listening to and reading about all this stuff that Satan has going in His realm, it stands a really good chance at affecting us, how we feel, and how we think, even our beliefs. I'm not saying keep our heads buried in the sand either, we do need to be alert and aware.
It's just hard to "seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness" (Matt 6:33) if we allow our brains to be virtually consumed by everything except His righteousness. It would help if we could persuade our news agencies to get off climate change, get off political bashing, get off liberal vs conservative battles, and give us a daily dose of some old fashioned good news, but none seem willing to. If they would, I believe It would go a long way in helping people focus on some good things in a world that requires us to look pretty hard to find any right now, yet the networks continue to prefer broadcasting the trash.
Paul tells us in 1 Thess 5:16-17, to "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances..." In order to rejoice in all circumstances, we have to pull ourselves away from the world's trash pit, and in those things that affect us, look for the good in them. As we do that, Paul again has some words for us, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." (Phil 4:8)
It's pretty hard, but not impossible, to find anything honorable, pure, lovely or commendable in our daily news cycle, yet sometimes there is indeed good. Sometimes we see someone genuinely pushing for a righteous cause, and we should pray for those efforts, as we ask God to change the hearts and minds of men and women in our world, especially our leaders. Let us not forget that we are to pray for "all men, for kings and all who are in authority," and Paul tells us why, "...that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,..." (1 Tim 2:1-3)
I for one am not worried about climate change rendering the human race extinct for this reason, God says this earth will be populated, when Jesus returns (1 Thes 4:17) What I am worried about is the condition of people when He comes. Have they done as He has commanded? Have they listened to His message, and believed it? If they have, have they chosen to change their life, repenting of sin and following His commands to confess Him as the Son of God, and be baptized, the only way to wash their sins away? (Matt 17:5, John 8:24, Luke 13:3, Matt 10:32, Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16, 1 Peter 3:21, John 14:6)
When Christ comes back, mankind won't be extinct, just caught off guard, totally unprepared according to scripture. (Matt 24:36, 1 Thes 5:2, 2 Peter 3:10)So our job as Christians should not be to jump on the bandwagon regarding all the issues that dominate our news cycle, nor spend our time shouting down the other side on various issues. No, our job is to spread the message about salvation found only through Jesus Christ.
For our own sake and sanity, let us look for the good in all situations, and use that to encourage and teach. We won't always find good in every instance, but God can still use even bad situations to His glory in some way beyond our understanding. Let us pray, as Paul encourages, because the result may be that God changes the headlines over time, and perhaps our world can become a better place.