Sunday, August 27, 2006

Are We Drawn to Bad News?

I like to be informed. I watch the news, listen to the radio, read newspapers and surf the web. I believe that using all these resources is part of my educational process. Being informed helps me make decisions in everyday life. I benefit from this process. However this process is becoming more and more difficult, because it seems that the media is obsessed with bad news. In fact, the worse the news is, the more it is reported. A few months ago it was Natalie Holloway. A tragic story. There are many lessons to be learned from this story for parents and teens alike. However the lessons are not discussed. All that is discussed is the bad news. When horrible details are learned they are repeated for days, weeks and months on end.

Recently it has been JonBenet. Every minute there is a new story that reminds us of this tragedy and the press seems morbidly anxious to talk about it. It’s like a feeding frenzy in a school of piranha.

A few weeks ago a heat wave swept the country and the press loved it because there was death involved. I heard one TV reporter state that “the death count due to the heat wave is 3, however there are 7 people in critical condition so the count may go up to 10.” Seemingly watching the tote board like it was a Jerry Lewis telethon.

And then of course there is the war on terrorism. The favorite press activity each day is the death count. There is an obsession every day about the number of deaths in Baghdad. In the skirmish in Lebanon there was a constant up date on the deaths for each side as if someone was keeping score and the winner would be named based on a body count.

Why is the media so obsessed with bad news? Maybe it’s not the media, maybe it’s us. Is it possible that people are attracted to bad news? I do find my self stopping to listen when a JonBenet story comes on as if it made a difference in my life which perverse human being killed this poor girl.

Here is what Jesus said " For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean.' "(Mark 7)

Perhaps the media is only part of the problem. Perhaps we are drawn to evil. I need to do my part to not be obsessed with the bad and focus my eyes on the things above as we are taught in Colossians 3.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

So don't be drawn in to only listening to bad news. Don't forget to focus your mind on the things above.