How do we respond to news?
As I was reading through Mark 1:1-20, I remembered that when I had first begun to hear Jesus’ voice, the Holy Spirit would often lead me down different streets to and from work. Sometimes it would be dark, and I had to decide on whether or not I would follow (I believe I always did though). Instead of the wilderness though, I was in the city (and behind buildings on the smaller streets). Instead of wild animals, I had the homeless people and other people walking the streets. Also in both cases, such was the prelude to our ministries, as it is with many with whom I have talked in regards to their callings and early training. Now I’m not comparing myself to Jesus, just to His training grounds. But going back to my post about why Jesus needed to be baptized: AS Jesus was baptized, so are we. AS Jesus was tested and led into the wilderness for training, so are we. And as Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “When Jesus calls us to the cross, He bids us to ‘come and die’,” as with Christ, we too will be persecuted, mocked, hated, mistreated, and maybe even led to the cross, so to say, ministering and witnessing until our dying breaths. So we’re participating in what Jesus is a part of. Yes, unfortunately there are some obvious down-sides to that, but in each bad side, there’s a good side that’s so awesome that it makes the bad look minuscule.
So by this time, John the Baptist is arrested by Herod Antipas, and Jesus begins His ministry:
“At LAST, the time has come! The Kingdom of God is near! Turn from your sins and believe this Good News!” I’ve always heard this, but for some reason, those phrases, “At Last” and “Good News” hit me differently than before, in a good way. I mean, isn’t it interesting how what sounds like awesome news is often given such criticism and taken with such skepticism? God has some Good News for everybody, and Jesus came to tell everyone about it; “Hey, everyone, I’ve got some Good News! God’s Kingdom is near! Repent now (and turn from your sins) to become a part of it!” Why is this AWESOME NEWS so often shrugged off or rejected, not just today, but even back then?
For instance, when you hear news like, “2 planes just crashed into the United Trade Center’s towers…” That’s bad news. Yet everybody flocked to hear about it and learn how to participate in helping (or going after those who did this). Or when we heard of the huge tsunamis that hit all those islands and countries, everybody rushed to read about it and how they can participate in helping. Or when we hear about taxes going up, everybody participates in giving their opinions and criticisms. Why does the world flock to hear bad news, but then shrug off good news?
In his book “The Importance of Being Foolish”, the late author Brennan Manning wrote, “Listen in on conversations in coffee shops, living rooms, and churches. Pay attention to the pundits and the news-makers. We tend not only to begrudge the value of others but to appear downright sad when a person is praised.” Though he’s talking about Christians criticizing others, it’s still along the lines of the fact that people today (and even then?) are more attracted to hearing and participating in the bad news than the good. I mean, just notice what blogs get the most attention. If you write about how Jesus has opened up the doors to Heaven, and anybody who receives Him will get in, no questions asked, you may get a couple criticisms by those who don’t believe that Jesus is the only way in, but most likely ignored by people who are annoyed by your message…hence, no participation. But now if you tell them that if they don’t receive Jesus they’ll go to hell, well now you’ve got a whole mess of people participating in commenting and criticizing. In other words, they prefer to participate in the bad news than in the good news.
So in terms of “news” I ask you:
- Why is it that the public is more attracted to participating in bad news than they are to good news? Is it that God’s Good News is considered as bad news, or is it that people are just more interested in participating in bad news than they are Good News?
- What can be done to change this mindset and focus of people/the world for increased participation in good news (the world’s and God’s)?