Bad News: What do we do with it?
2020 is a year packed with bad news. We have had global crises, from the Covid-19 pandemic to climate change, political upheaval, civil unrest, failing economies, poverty and even gruesome murders. With easy access to information, especially through social media, it simply means we are constantly bombarded by all kinds of negative news – every second and every minute.
Bad news all day, everyday
As sensational headlines get more clicks and likes, news websites often end up churning out negative headlines. It looks like bad news sells. There is rarely positive news anymore, and we are being overwhelmed daily.
>>READ: Why such a bad start to 2020?
>>READ: How to overcome bad news according to King David
Constant exposure to bad news creates worries and takes a toll on our physical, mental and spiritual health. Not to mention fake news and those lacking reliable sources. When worldly worries enter our hearts, we become gripped by fear, insecurity, paranoia and mistrust about our future. It distorts the way we see the world, and worse, affects our faith in Christ.
Should believers, then, stop watching the news altogether? Should we bury our heads in the sand to ignore all unpleasant information? Ignorance is bliss, goes the old saying. Certainly during these days of Covid-19 we do need to stay alert and informed. Striking this balance is challenging, and swaying to one extreme or the other complicates our lives.
Let’s follow the example of Jesus Christ
We do not have all the answers to all the world’s problems. As Christians we struggle with “being in the world, but not of the world” (John 17:16). But we do need to live our daily lives following Christ closely. Christ himself set the example for us by spending time with the Heavenly Father. In Mark 1.35 He is described as rising up early in the morning, and going to a quiet place to pray. Traditionally, this pattern of reading the Bible and praying, whether in the morning or evening has been used as an important tool for spiritual formation.
It has been variously called, Quiet Time, Devotion Time and Time with God. The value is in the practice of going away from distractions even for a few minutes, to pause, read Scripture to meditate on the truth of God’s Word. Thereafter, it is to take what has been read into prayer.
There is no other better way to combat the negativity and worries the world is feeding us, than to feed our souls with God’s Word and spend time in prayer.
Now is an opportunity to do good
Perhaps all the bad news surrounding us is an opportunity to display God’s goodness. Romans 8:28 says that “all things work together for good to those who love God”. There may be no solutions to our global crises, but God has made it clear that “he makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good” (Matthew 5:45). In the preceding verse, Jesus also commands us to love our enemies.
>>READ: Why bad news may be a good time to reflect on our faith
>>DOWNLOAD PDF: ‘Practices to Strengthen Your Faith’ by Lisa Samra
The truth is that God allows suffering in our fallen world. Nevertheless, He too has promised us strength and peace to endure difficult times. So instead of unplugging completely from the news, we should instead be “making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:16)
Take this time to really look into His plan for our lives, discover how we may serve others and thereby demonstrate real faith through loving action. By spending time with God in prayer, our worries will be turned into action, leading to positive and tangible change in ourselves, families and even our communities.
Lastly, remember to switch off from time to time. Unplug from all the bad news and plug into God’s Good News instead. Gain wisdom and strength before going back into the world to make a difference in His name. The real call to action when hard times strike is to always pray, trust God and continue to love others and be kind.
About the Author
Brenda Law is an educationist who perceives herself as a learner instead. She is often lost in the joys of constantly learning and simplifying her life. Brenda loves nature, animals, good books, music, food, as well as writing in her free time.
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