If your main news sources are Perez Hilton and ESPN, then this post is for you. I consider myself to be a relatively informed citizen, but sometimes I feel myself developing a passive attitude. I find the news too discouraging and confusing, so I read The Onion instead.
It is undeniable that the world around us often feels hopeless. As Christians, being ‘informed’ comes with a cost: we will be forced to grapple with God’s sovereignty. I’ve talked to friends who hate ‘news’ in general. They complain that it’s “too troubling” or “too boring.” Often they feel that, because news is always changing, its too hard to keep up with. Out of all these complaints, one thing stands out: it is all too dang depressing. Recent news is no exception. In the past weeks, the world has suffered through unspeakable hardship: the Tsunami in Japan, riots and deaths in the Middle East, and union strikes in the U.S.
Recently, four New York Times journalists were captured in Libya. They were held for days in terrible conditions and beat frequently. As soon as they were rescued, they wrote an article in the NYT documenting their harrowing experience. Some of the details are almost too hard to read. Before their release, they resigned themselves to never returning to America alive.
So why should we care? Why should we, as Christians, make a point to read articles like this, watch the news, and work hard to understand everything that is going on in the world? Let me give simple reasons:
First, as Christians, we are called to a heightened awareness to the world we live in. I Peter 2:5,9 says “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light!” How are we to ‘proclaim the excellencies of Him’ if we are blind to the world, living day to day as if nothing exists beyond ourselves?
Second, we must know what to pray for. As part of a larger community of followers of Christ, God calls us to be in prayer for one another. Ephesians 6:18 says, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. … be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” In the midst of all the tragedies in this fallen world, we should feel compelled to pray for one another as fellow members of the Kingdom of God. If we aren’t keeping informed, how can God work through us as members of His Kingdom?
Third, God has not called us to a life of comfort. Many people don’t watch/read the news because it takes them far out of their comfort zone and puts them face to face with sin and the state of the world we live in. God, however does not call us to comfort, but to hope in the midst of discomfort. By realizing the depravity of our world we will be reminded of our need for God to sovereignly plan redemption for his children. We cannot realize our intense need for Christ until we are made aware of our sin, and the world’s need.
So, next time you are tempted to look up funny youtube videos of kittens on your computer, I would encourage you to redirect to a news site instead. Some news sources I would recommend are NPR, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and BBC. Hopefully through simply starting to watch, listen, and read about the happenings in the world around us we will explore how to be better citizens of the Kingdom of God.