Worry and the Media

I’m not discounting the fact that financial institutions in the US took some foolish risks that put some of them out of business. Or that their demise had a domino effect on the economy. I’m not discounting the fact that unemployment is on the rise even as the stock market continues it’s herky-jerky slide.

But I have to tell you, I think we Christians are allowing ourselves to be manipulated by the media. Haven’t we learned yet that the media thrives most on bad news? Sure, they love the hero story of a pilot successfully bringing down his plane in the Hudson, especially because they were able to get a few pictures.

For a while they even loved a moose-shooting, basketball-playing female governor, too, but then they found out she was a Christian. You see, what the media mostly loves is what fits in with their worldview.

Well, that makes them human, not monsters, but we Christians should not allow ourselves to fall in line with their thinking. Most recently that means worrying about the economy.

I’ve read on blogs by Christians and Christian writer groups questions about the economy, the scary economy. What’s it mean, how is it affecting us, how are we coping? It seems as if we are on the verge of panic.

The thing is, when we look at the world, the facts just aren’t all that bad for US citizens. I don’t have the stats in front of me and I’m not interested in looking them up either, but let’s say unemployment has risen to 10 percent. That means that nine out of ten Americans are working. I know a lot of places that would love to have that kind of number! Others are worried about how much their retirement fund has shrunk, but most people in the world live without knowing what retirement is, let alone a retirement fund.

I recently read in To Fly Again (Tyndale), the book by Gracia Burnham, survivor of a year-long captivity by a terrorist group in the Philippines, that only 25 percent of the people in the world sleep in beds. The other 75 out of a 100 sleep in hammocks or on mats or on the ground.

We Americans don’t have it so tough. And yet, the media has convinced us we should worry.

Worse still is the fact that the Bible explicitly says we should NOT worry. Paul writes, “Be anxious for nothing.” Jesus said, “Do not be anxious, then,” and a little later adds, “Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow.”

But it seems “tomorrow” is exactly what we worry about. Yet the Bible doesn’t stop with the commands not to worry. First, God reveals Himself in the pages of Scripture to be Sovereign. That’s reason enough not to worry.

Second, Paul tells us we have an alternative: “By prayer and supplication, let your requests be known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Jesus said we are to seek first His kingdom and His righteous and then trust. Well, OK, technically, I added trust. Jesus said “all these things”—food, clothing, the stuff we need to live—would be added. So if I believe Him, isn’t that trust? And if I trust Him, will I still worry?

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Published in: on February 13, 2009 at 2:19 pm  Comments (5)  
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5 Comments

  1. Becky, You know that this is my life verse. And yet, even after all the Lord has done for me, it is part of my nature to worry. I think, ok, can I pay this bill today, or should I wait until I have more money in the bank. If I pay this bill, will I have enough for my car payment. Etc. I know that it is wrong, and the Lord has been dealing with me about this for many years. I hope that I have matured enough so that I don’t panic, but sometimes it comes mighty close, and, I have had incredible miracles given to me by the Lord.
    So, why do I still worry? Satan, loves to bug humans and try to get us to do what he knows will grieve the Lord. So, whenever I see the media saying whatever they say, I try to temper it with a reminder that the Lord is soverign (sp) and that whatever man thinks is going on really is not what the Lord Knows is going on.

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  2. I’ve turned off the news. I can’t stand it anymore. When I accidentally hear a tidbit it’s always “such and such number of jobs lost”. How’s that doing anybody any good?

    If the unemployment rate is 7%, that means the employment rate is 93%. As you say, that is still pretty good. Even in the Depression, which were extremely hard times, employment was 75%.

    I do still fall prey to worry, but keeping the news off has helped a lot.

    For the most part, we are a blessed nation. Unfortunately, our comforts have made us so “soft” that many of us (including me) don’t deal very well with hardship. The other night, I had to take my husband to the ER because of an extremely bad stomach bug. I realized…people die of this in other countries. I have 2 hospitals within 20 minutes. They hydrated him with an IV and we went home. I have been thanking God profusely over the last couple days.

    I hope we can become more thankful as a nation.

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  3. A-men, Becky!!! What a great, encouraging reminder of God’s leadership in everything!! This is time for His children to rejoice in all that He is doing in our lives!!

    Thank you for this wonderful reminder!

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  4. Amen and amen. Great post.

    I also have turned off my TV news and don’t read the papers, either. I did gave up the news about twenty years ago when I got sick of hearing the graphic reporting on rapes and murders. Murder has become a spectator sport in this country and, yes, I believe all that crime reporting feeds our fear.

    Oh, and then there are all the health segments to warn us about cancers and all kinds of nasty diseases we might have.

    Yuck. No wonder people worry.

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  5. You are obviously talking about the US media here. I get to see a fair bit of it, as does most of the world. Currently I’m in another discussion about TV programs, like Medium, Lost, Heroes. There seem to be quite a lot of these, all based on some kind of extraordinary or supernatural aspect of life.

    Media is about getting out attention. If they don’t get it, they haven’t done their job. The best way to get the attention of a human being is to threaten them. So the media depend on a cycle of threat and reassurance. You can see this structured in most news programs.

    When I watch American media it seems to consist of chopped up, disconnected, random little bits and pieces of dramatic attention-grabbing content. The overall effect is a kind of buzzing that has little to do with anything in my own life.

    I wonder if the pressure of grabbing attention in the USA (300 million people) has caused the media to lose contact with ordinary daily life? I don’t so much get the sense of threat, so much as “why bother”?

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