How do we cope with a world full of constant bad news?
EBOLA. ISIS. The upcoming election where candidates want to remind us just how corrupt our government is. Silver and amber alerts. Personal crises. Cancer. Aging issues and death of loved ones. Bad news swirls around us, threatening to pull us into the quicksand of despair.
Bad news does become overwhelming at times. As I shared my personal prayer list with my bible study group, I thought to myself, “Wow, this is a lot!” My mother in law had been to E.R. the day before due to a fall. A friend from Bible College had been missing for 48 hours. Another friend lost her father to cancer. The little boy who calls me “church mom” is still struggling. Several church members face illness and other issues. Three young people in a nearby town were killed in a car collision.
Clutches of despondency reached out crooked claws, threatening to squeeze my heart and hold it hostage. I gritted my teeth. I am NOT going to let all these difficult things ruin my day!
How do we beat the bad news blues? Here are six ways I’ve determined to use to not succumb to the bad news blues:
Make good news. Instead of passively allowing the flood waters of bad news to encroach our personal lives, let’s take action! Let’s create good news. Let’s initiate acts of kindness that will become good news for others.
A lady at our church noticed the over-sized broken shoes “Jacob” was wearing and asked me his shoe size. I took Jacob into the hall, measured his foot against mine and reported back. Within the hour, she provided our little guy with a hardly worn, perfect fit pair of shoes. “Better for him to start wearing them than for the shoes to sit around waiting for my son to grow into them,” she told me. This lady took the initiative to do a kind deed and make the world a little better.
Be prepared. Those who don’t have the hope of Christ often feel more overwhelmed and despondent than Christ-followers. During the sad times, they are searching for answers. We have those answers! My husband and I know several people who started back toward Christ because my husband showed up to be with them during a crisis. Instead of allowing the bad times to influence us, we can be prepared to give the message of hope people are looking for.
Don’t make more bad news. Our personal choices will bring about consequences. I create my own bad news when I make bad choices. While God forgives me for the wrong choices I make and God will change my heart and use me in His kingdom, the Bible gives no guarantee that God will rescue me from the consequences of my actions. Sometimes, I may have to suffer lifelong consequences from those choices. I have no right to expect God to deliver me. It is only out of His grace and mercy that He will rescue me or use those circumstances to make me stronger.
Veteran novelist Lauraine Snelling recently said that the consequences of actions often hurt those close to the sinful person more than they do the person himself. Show love for those around you by making wise decisions that won’t cause a ripple effect of pain. Quit smoking. Cut out that extra sugar. Vent your anger on a pillow rather than on a child. Get out of debt. Resist the temptation to say hurtful criticism about church leaders. Any of these actions make trouble for others – and our world doesn’t need any more trouble!
Hold Bad News loosely. Insulate yourself. Yes, news junkies, we need to be informed, but we choose how much we will dwell on the bad. If you find yourself sucked into listening to too much bad news, walk away. My husband and I cancelled our cable because we realized all the bad news was impacting us emotionally. I don’t recommend this for everyone, but for us, at the time, this was what we needed to do. We need to be aware of the evil and suffering in our world but we don’t need to dwell on it.
Focus on the good. Philippians 4:8 says:
“Finally brothers, 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.”
Look for and rejoice in the good. Share that good news with others. Your little ray of sunshine may drive them crazy at the time but they’ll remember you.
I asked Facebook followers to share their good news with me. Their answers showed you can find good news anywhere, especially in the little things. Two people were thankful it wasn’t snowing. Facebook has been resplendent with pictures depicting a beautiful Fall season Another was looking forward to see family this weekend. Ah yes! That was a good reminder to me that after my faith in Jesus, people are what is most important. Just thinking about the people I cherish, those who have been so supportive and gracious to me, makes me smile!
Fix your eyes on Jesus. A runner keeps his eyes on the finish line, not the distractions or obstacles around him. If there are obstacles, he maneuvers around them and keeps going. That’s what we need to do. If anything, Christians need to be far-sighted. We’re aware of the difficulties and the obstacles but we deal with them and press on, always keeping our focus on the end of the race and the reward waiting for the faithful.
“I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Jesus has overcome the world. In the end, His way will reign. All these troubles will pass away. In the meantime, God won’t allow anything to permanently destroy us. “A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you (Psalm 91:7).”
That’s enough good news to make me smile.
Tell us how you cope with the world’s bad news. Comment below.