Twice a week I go to my office’s wellness center to do strength-training and work out on the elliptical. While on the elliptical, I am able to use headphones to hear one of the four TV channels they have playing. I get to multi-task by catching up on world news while exercising. (I had to learn to multi-task well in medical school and I am having to “un-learn” it, though that’s the subject for a different blog post).
Almost every time I do this, I find myself disappointed and discouraged by the headlines of the different news channels. It is uncommon to hear something positive and encouraging. I am neither naive nor an optimist, but I do wish for more good news and less bad news. Perhaps you can relate:
Here’s a sampling of what I mean:
I hear political news/opinions ad nauseam about the two incredibly disappointing major candidates for President: America, how can these two be the best we can do?? I am incredulous! Yet I am also reminded that “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” (Psalm 20:7). I pray every morning for the election and am trusting that the Lord is sovereign over this. I also choose not to watch more than a few minutes of political news so that I don’t get more frustrated and angry.
I see “Crimes against fellow man” news: reports about terrorists, dictators, war and corruption; policemen harming blacks and blacks harming policemen; sexual assault and perversion; and the like. First of all, why can’t we all do to others what we would want them to do to us, instead of living “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”? Second of all, for every one negative story, I would bet there are dozens of positive stories of people helping one another and treating one another well. News reporters, let’s hear more of those good stories instead of inciting people with so many bad stories! And those of us watching, I’m not suggesting that we put our heads in the sand and pretend that these things aren’t happening, but perhaps we can choose to limit our watching of this sad and disappointing news and work on the following:
Brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things... And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4: 8-9).
I am subject to sports and entertainment news: instead of fixating on how certain Olympic, professional sports, and entertainment stars represent America poorly by their behavior, let’s report more about those who are doing good in their communities and in the world. In fact, the public tends to put all the sports and entertainment stars on pedestals and then relish in the failures and screw-ups that they have. No wonder these “stars” get addicted to drugs and alcohol – it must be hard to be in the limelight and have to be “on” and under a microscope all the time. Let’s extend more grace and mercy and less judgement.
If I get tired of watching news, the only other option to watch at the gym is HGTV. I know it’s fun sometimes to re-decorate our homes and get ideas for that, and it’s a distraction from all the bad news, but sometimes I wish we as a nation were more content with what we have and more concerned about the hungry, homeless and down-trodden people around us and around the world.
Perhaps the next step would be to go out and make our own good news. It may seem like “spitting in the ocean”* to think about how little one person can do in the world by helping one or a few people, but don’t believe that lie . We read that Jesus helped individuals more often than great masses of people: the Gerasene demoniac; the 10 lepers; Peter’s mother-in-law; the woman caught in adultery; and many others. If we each did our part with those God puts in our paths, then they might be encouraged and empowered in turn to help others, and a chain reaction would be started. This ripple effect can make a difference, so let’s get out there and do something!
Thanks for listening to me share my musings – I’d love to hear your thoughts on these things as well.
*Spit in the ocean: an inconsequential amount. The image is a single mouthful being nothing compared to the entirely watery content of the ocean.