Terrorist bombings, school shootings, and hurricanes blare across the latest headlines. The internet and television bring eyewitness accounts of crime, war, and crises right to screen of our desktops. Research shows us that “young adults in Europe, North America, Japan, and Australia fear their nation’s best days are behind them.” But is our world really as hopeless as it seems?
In an age of increasing pessimism, discouragement, and depression, it is easy to go along with the idea that our world is completely falling apart. However, as much as we notice the abounding sin displayed in the news, we can still find true joy and hope by focusing on the good news in a fallen world.
So where do we start?
1. Do not read everything
Yes, you should have some understanding of what is going on the world, but you certainly do not need to know every tiny detail of every news story. With the development of modern technology, we have breaking news stories at the tip of our fingers – eyewitness accounts, press conferences, drone footage, photographs, videos — the list goes on. Does this inspire us or make us joyful? We certainly do not need to traumatize ourselves with pages of information, facts, and descriptions. When it comes to the news, operate on a “need to know” basis, you certainly don’t need to know everything and just reading the headlines can suffice.
As Christians, I believe we need to have a good sense of current world issues. 1 Peter 3:15 says, “Always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” However, how can one make a defense without any knowledge on the opposition’s subject? Ignorance is bliss, but it is still ignorance.
2. Focus on the facts
News and media are often negatively distorted because it is what most attracts readers. In Upside: Surprising Good News about the State of our World, Dr. Bradley Wright uncovers how the media is motivated to find bad news in even the good news: “If life expectancy decreases, people are dying younger. If it increases, it strains the social security system . . . High birthrates cause overcrowding; low birthrates cause school closings and lowered future tax revenues.” When journalists and broadcasters search for the negatives, lies, and frauds, we are left seeing distorted, misrepresented, and imbalanced new stories. However, we need to focus on the facts, not just opinions. Focus on some of these positive facts:
- Middle-class Americans live better that 99.4 percent of everyone who has ever lived.
- Americans are healthier and live longer.
- 109 of 115 UN countries have improved life expectancy, education and income since 1990.
- Over the last 65 years the global literacy rate has increased by 4% every 5 years.
- Median household incomes in the United States are 24 percent higher than in 1965.
- In 1950, 75% of the world was living in extreme poverty; in 2015, extreme poverty had fallen below 10%.
“Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence, but a false witness utters deceit. (Proverbs 12:17)”
3. Continue to rediscover the Good News
This world is fallen. This world is living in sin. This world is depressed. However, the true, glorious light of Jesus Christ still shines! Jesus died on the cross to save our depressed, dark, dim world! The one news story we should keep coming back to is one of salvation, hope, and grace. What better news will you ever read? So find the positives, search for hope, and pursue Christ’s joy.
Let’s not be joyless Christians! I’d love to hear the ways you combat our dim, dreary world with joy and hope!
“5 Huge Ways American Life Has Changed In The Past 50 Years.” The Odyssey Online, 27 Aug. 2017, www.theodysseyonline.com/ways-american-life-changed-50-years.
Murray, David. “Happy Media.” The Happy Christian, Nelson Books, 2015, pp. 25–45 .
Roser, Max. “Proof That Life Is Getting Better for Humanity, in 5 Charts.” Vox, Vox, 23 Dec. 2016, www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2016/12/23/14062168/history-global-conditions-charts-life-span-poverty.
Image Credit: Leanne Zuiderveen