I’m not sure that people really want good news. I’m also becoming convinced that many don’t want the Good News. The question though is why? Why would people outright reject, ignore, reason away, twist, and turn Good News into something else?
I go to the gym each week day. Regardless of what equipment I am using, there are two rows of TVs easily within my view. This is especially true when I use the treadmill. I would prefer to not see any TV while I work out – they are a distraction to me. But because they are right there, I often get sucked in from time to time until I realize that I’m gazing at it. The gym has the TVs set to eight different channels – ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, HGTV, ESPN, CNN, and FoxNews. While I was running yesterday, I started to pay attention to what I was being exposed to for the relatively short period of time I was there. In about 10 minutes worth of scanning the TVs, here’s what I was exposed to:
- A scandal involving rich celebrities paying off colleges to let their kids into prestigious schools.
- The R. Kelly sexual abuse situation
- A Catholic Cardinal getting prison time for sexual abuse from two decades before.
- Yet another change in immigration policy designed to keep people out.
- Commercials telling me that I needed this product or that product to be whole, or better.
- A story on the rise of road rage in America.
- Commercials for law firms that are ready to fight for you when you have been wronged.
- A story lifting up one part of the country and it’s culture in opposition to other parts that happen to have a different political bent.
- A story about a politician who mishandled a sexual misconduct allegation.
Why do we willingly expose ourselves to this?
We willingly turn our attention to what can only be considered bad news. We are addicted to it. Bad news is a type of idol. It draws our attention. It demands our attention. We listen to it and follow what it tell us. And what is bad news’ gospel – that you should be afraid and angry. That you shouldn’t trust anyone. That you need to protect the stuff you have from those other people. That you earned everything you have and so you are in control.
Every one of the stories that I listed above proclaims at least one of these bad news gospel narratives.
But why are we addicted to these golden calves that we protect? The simple answer may be sin – but that’s really more of an overarching answer than a specific answer. Sin is brokenness. And we live in a broken world. We are part of a broken culture and society. We are broken individuals.
I think people like to hear good news from time to time – just enough to distract them from the bad news. But can you imagine if all that we had to hear was good news? We would hear people complain that they were bored. Bad news is entertaining. Good news is boring. Good News is for church – don’t mix it into the rest of my life. Don’t tell me what to do!!!! That is the narrative.
So what are we to do?
You can’t change what others will do. You can only have influence over yourself. Here’s a simple way to start – stop willingly exposing yourself to sources of bad news. Change what you watch, listen to, and read. If you claim to be a follower of Jesus, then you have an opportunity to pay attention to what God has to say. You have the bible to read or listen to. You have prayer. You have worship opportunities and service opportunities. Be the one who shares Good News with people around you – divine Good News. Not the pithy feel good 30 second clip at the end of the news cast type of thing. Actual Good News. The Good News that you are not alone. The Good News that God is willing to go to hell and back for you. The Good News that frees people who are captive to sin. The Good News of a love that makes no sense in the world. The Good News of grace, mercy, and forgiveness. That’s Good News.
Look for it and share it. Good News happens all around us – we just happen to dismiss it pretty easily. But these are God moments. This is God broadcasting to us Good News. I’m not talking about driving to the grocery store and you have trouble finding a parking lot and you pray and bam, you get a close spot.
Look for God moments – those times when an opportunity presents itself to live out what you claim to believe – To feed the hungry (and the hungry don’t always have to be the poor, or related to an empty stomach. There are people who are hungry for so much more than just food). To clothe the naked (and again, the naked aren’t just those who are literally without clothes, there are plenty of people who need to be clothed with love, care, and concern). To welcome the stranger (The stranger in our midst, the person we don’t know, the immigrant, the person who serves us food or works in the stores we go to.) To care for the sick (in our families, our friends, our neighbors, those in the hospital – there are many ways to care for the sick. And not just when it comes to physical health. Who is sick of something in their lives? They need to be cared for too.) To visit those imprisoned. (Not just those in literal prisons, but also those imprisoned in addictions, in brokenness, in beliefs, in more.)
God presents many opportunities for Good News to be present. Are you paying attention? Or are you always looking for bad news – expecting it to come? Be a reporter of Good News. People may not like to hear it. But that’s just too bad. Good News is the only news worth proclaiming. Good News is the only news worth expecting. Bad news will happen. You don’t have to search for it. It will expose itself to you. Good News is different. It’s there – if we just open our eyes and hearts to see it.