Monday, June 29, 2015

How To Handle The News

by J. T. Bean

I have been amazed recently at how quickly our national conversations have shifted and changed. On the evening of June 17, 2015, a mass shooting took place at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. As the nation mourned this tragedy, the news (network, cable and social media) erupted with talk about racism, violence and gun control. It wasn't long before the discussion evolved to whether the Confederate flag was befitting of display at state capitals. 

No sooner had that debate been settled than the issue of gay marriage rose to front-and-center. It seems with each change of topic, the discourse of popular opinion seems to get more heated and controversial. It’s enough to want to throw my hands up in surrender and say, “I give up!” We seem to rush full-speed from one crisis or controversy to another. Before I can get a handle on what I know or believe, there’s another front-page headline to consume. I can’t seem to keep up with the news, the debates, the opinions, name-calling, no-nothings, and know-it-alls! Am I the only one that feels like this?!

I know some people enjoy a heated debate or find pleasure in the midst of an argument. People like this relish the fight. Me? I’ve never been in a real fight my whole life. I’ve never thrown a punch, let alone landed one! And when it comes to arguments, I tend to avoid the back-and-forth “war of words”. I learned long ago not to engage in petty arguments on social media because it wasn’t worth the emotional energy I would expend. I back down rather than ramp up because I don’t like conflict. I don’t like taking sides. I am a peacemaker. A negotiator. I want everyone to get along. 

That’s why I take comfort in the words of Hebrews 13:8: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” The Lord doesn’t change with the shift in news cycles. He is steadfast, firm and predictable. His love never fails. He is a rock. A refuge. An ever-present help in times of need.

Knowing this, we can find peace in the midst of the many changes taking place in our culture at home and in our world abroad. When we build our house upon the “rock” of Jesus Christ, we have no fear when the rain comes, streams rise, winds beat and the storms of life shake the foundations of our life’s house (see Matthew 7:24-27). If our house is built on a solid foundation, we can sleep soundly knowing that it will not fall. 
  • Trust in the Lord. 
  • Stand firm on His unchanging Word. 
  • Rest easy in the light of His love. 
  • He will not let you go. 
  • He will never leave you or forsake you.
Whatever hot topic pops up next, I know I don’t have to win an argument or prove that I’m right. God’s Word assures me of eternal promises that are far more important than the latest Tweet or the newest trend.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t engage in the fight. There are some things that are worth fighting for. There are some things we can’t afford to be “neutral” about. But in the back-and-forth of debate, don’t forget your Christian calling to love like Jesus. In the end, it is the sincerity of your love that will convince others of their need for a Savior.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21)

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