Press conferences are happening daily in the age of coronavirus. Breaking news is occurring every hour as we wait for bills to be passed in congress or the latest statistics. Facebook is going live so often that I’m surprised that it hasn’t crash yet. The internet is full of stories in the land and people are waiting for the latest updates. Situations like this are fluid and changing, so I can understand the desire to keep up with the news. But how do we as Christians keep it from consuming us? Is it possible for to respond inappropriately to these media outlets?
The answer is Yes. Christians can, and do, respond inappropriately to the news, but we can also respond righteously. Here are some principles on what we should do and what we should not do with the news.
Things Not to Do
1. Don’t React Emotionally Rather than Biblically
Usually our initial reactions to bad news are not our godliest reactions. How we feel at the initial release of information item may not be how we feel in five minutes. Let’s be mindful of our emotions and be aware of the flesh. Let’s think through an issue biblically rather than passions alone. May our emotions stem from righteousness and be guided by the Scriptures.
2. Don’t Share without Discernment.
It’s easy to mash the “share” button, but just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it should be done. In this season, many have shared indiscriminately out of anger, fear, or as a “public service” (whatever that means). Better to not post if you have the following motives: to further your selfish agenda, to make it purely a partisan issue, or to get a rise out of people in an attempt to provoke the proverbial bear.
Be rare with your “shares” and cautious with your “likes.” Wait, do your research, and err on the side of caution. Some sources have more credibility than others, and don’t just look at the headline without reading the article. Be aware of who may read, and how they may react. When in doubt, don’t repost.
3. Don’t Pretend Like You’re an Expert
People are speaking as if they know exactly what the solution is to the problem. It is surprising how many health experts, doctors, presidents, and governors have come out of the closet to give their opinions. If you feel as though that social media rant will be your contribution to society or “change their mind,” please opt for a phone conversation or a direct message instead. Know what you know, and know what you don’t know. Yes, we must point out sin and give righteous critiques of wrong, but we must be take extra caution about our tone, posture, and attitudes.
4. Don’t Make and Idol out of “News”
Whether we realize it or not, some of us have become worshipers of media. We cannot wait for our favorite news outlet to give us the newest updates or the juiciest details. We want fire in our political bellies to feed our rage. Our time, energy, and affections have been hijacked by these news outlets, and we have looked to press conferences for guidance and submitted our souls to the government. We are constantly waiting and hitting the refresh button and are angry over every little announcement that goes against our unrealistic expectations. May this never be. May we not bow at the feet of the “feed,” but look to the Lord for the eternal solutions.
Things You Should Do
1. Wait on God, not the Press
Refreshing pages constantly waiting for the latest story isn’t healthy for the Christian. Habakkuk waited to hear from God and to see how He would unfold His sovereign plan for the universe. God is doing something in the world with this situation, and we need to wait and see what it is. He will answer us in His providence or His Word.
2. Take a Break from the News
Constantly being bombarded with depressing information can accomplish what it seeks to accomplish: depress you. Take a break from it, set time limits, ask for accountability from friends, and read sparingly. Delete those apps if necessary in order to break free from the barrage of news.
3. Be Aware but Don’t Be Consumed
In this day and age, we still need to be aware of what is happening in the world. I’m not calling for a blissful ignorance when I say we should “take a break” from the news. Instead, we are to think carefully through the issues whenever we read articles and watch the latest videos. Know what is going on, but be aware of the temptation to be consumed by it. Once you feel the impulse to give all of your emotions, thoughts, and time to the issue, then you know that idolatry is close by. Be aware, but don’t be consumed.
4. Engage Your Mind with Better Things
We have more time. The days are slow. And some people don’t have anything better to do than to get into endless “comment wars” online about the news. Fill your mind with things that matter for eternity. Read your Bible, pray, or read that book you’ve always wanted to read. Better to fill your mind with spiritual things that will benefit your soul instead of consuming media that will only cause you to be bitter.
5. Do Something Else
It will be helpful for you to do something different. Go outside for fresh air or play with your children. Call or text a friend and ask they how they are doing. Remember your local church. When was the last time you served a fellow church member? Start a conversation with them by phone and ask them how you can serve them. Instead of consuming information, create and produce something of benefit to others (write, work with your hands, etc.). It is better to give rather than only to receive.
What are your thoughts? How else should Christians be responding to the news today?