Monday, September 12, 2011

Media Hype & How To Combat It

by Niki Turner

My hubby took away my TV.

No, it's not like it sounds. He cancelled our current satellite subscription, and left it up to me to call, or not call, another provider. (They'll be here tomorrow ... I can't miss the season premieres of Castle and Vampire Diaries!)

But not having the news blaring in the background (I usually watch the local news while I make supper) over the last few days reminded me how negative the media has become, how hard it is to tell what's true and what's false, and what we need to pay attention to and what to safely ignore.

A full year before the next major U.S. election, wild political rhetoric swamps the media. Every storm forming in the Atlantic has the potential to be another Hurricane Katrina. Every weather forecast is a potential record-breaker. Whatever you eat (or abstain from) is a possible cause of cancer or heart disease. Every germ threatens to be the next SARS or swine flu or some other dreadful epidemic. Disaster looms on the world's horizon no matter where you turn.

What's a believer to do?

Jesus knew these days were coming, and gave us some instructions ahead of time.
25 "And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; 26 men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near." (Lk 21:25-28 NKJV - emphasis mine)
Notice He didn't say "Quick! Jump on the panic wagon!" (Remember Y2K? That was embarrassing.) He didn't tell us to crawl in a hole somewhere and hide with our supplies of dehydrated food. What is our response to current events to be? We're supposed to look up and lift up our heads.

The Greek word "look up" is the word anakupto (an-ak-oop'-to), which implies a sense of reversal and rising; or figuratively, to be elated. To "lift up" is the word epairo (ep-ahee'-ro), sometimes defined as to poise or position.

Current events, no matter what natural position you take, are scary. Jesus said men's hearts would fail them just from the fear and expectation (there's scriptural proof that stress and anxiety cause heart disease.) Things look BAD, and yes, they are probably going to look worse the closer we get to Christ's return.

Our small town's Fourth of July fireworks display is a big deal. There's a bit of jockeying for position every year. To get the best seats, we go down to the park hours ahead of time and shiver under blankets with hot coffee in hand, looking up at the star-sprinkled sky, as close as we can possibly get to the coming display and celebration.

And so, as events unfold, we need to remind ourselves (and each other) of the hope we have in Christ Jesus. We have no need to fear. What's coming is our eternal redemption, and that's something to look forward to. We ought to be elated, positioning ourselves for the coming of our Lord in love, rejoicing, and grace, with a ready explanation for our hope to those who are terrified.

look up

Or, as The Message Bible renders Luke 21:27-28:

"And then – then! – they'll see the Son of Man welcomed in grand style – a glorious welcome! When all this starts to happen, up on your feet. Stand tall with your heads high. Help is on the way!"
If that's not comforting, I don't know what is.


  1. "He didn't tell us to crawl in a hole somewhere and hide with our supplies of dehydrated food. What is our response to current events to be? We're supposed to look up and lift up our heads."

    Good point, Niki. I know too many people who are doing the first rather than the second.

  2. I don't listen to the network news, but I try to read the headlines occasionally. That helps tremendously.
    I listen to BBC world news once a day at work, though. Less U.S.centric hype.

    Don't you love the Greek language?!
    It gives so much more clarity to look at scripture that way and it's just plain fun to pronounce!

  3. I love these scriptures, Niki. There are so many people I know who need the encouragement of these scriptures. (I hope they're reading today!)

    I don't watch the news for the very reasons you've listed. I do read the news, but I do ignore the rhetoric and rants. I think the written news is just as bad, but the tone isn't being bombarded into our brains.

    I used to listen to a local talk radio guy. He shares my views and beliefs, but mostly he's funny and makes me laugh.
    Or rather, he used to make me laugh - for fifteen years. Then he started going on these rants and I didn't realize how it was affecting me until I stopped listening for a week. One week turned into two, turned into three, etc. I'm much more peaceful not listening to him...

  4. Thanks, Dina. I know a few of those people, too. I wonder how they plan to power those generators they bought for Y2K, but I'm afraid to ask. : )

  5. Deb, I like BBC news, too. The perspective seems to be a little more objective. Maybe because they aren't competing for our advertising dollars... Hmm.

    LOL. Yes, I DO love looking up words in the Greek and Hebrew. It's like opening up a treasure box!

  6. Suzie,
    I agree, and pray that these verses come before the eyes of the people who need to see them today!

    You're so right about how we can absorb the tone of what and who we listen to regularly. That would be a good checkup... if we're dealing with fear, or anger, or being judgmental and pessimistic, maybe we should see what we're listening to. Good point!

  7. I don't do news. I just don't.

    Just getting into my e-mail gives me a page of current events that I can read more about if I want to. I have one political-type website I check for headlines. And my dad watches news 24-7 and wants to constantly talk about what he's seen. So if I have lunch with him or something, I will not only be caught up on current events, I will be worn out by them.

    So, no, I don't seek out the news myself most of the time. There's nothing I can do but pray for my country and trust God to know what's best for me.

    Otherwise I'd be crazier than I am.

  8. Otherwise I'd be crazier than I am.
    LOL DeAnna! Maybe those of us with extremely fertile imaginations are more susceptible to the effects of being fed tales of doom and gloom!

  9. I think you're right.

    It's just so frustrating to be bombarded with situations I can't do anything to fix or even alleviate, especially when I see stories about people hell bent on destroying themselves and others.

    I have to just let God be God. He is just and He is merciful.

    And He's much better at everything than I am.

  10. Amen to that! And the less we think we "know" in the natural, the easier it is to pray according to the spirit!

  11. The last time I found myself glued to the news was during Japan's earthquake aftermath - mainly because I wanted to see what was happening with the reactor as I have friends there.

    Good post, Niki. It makes me want to sing that old hymn, Turn Your Eyes Toward Jesus. :)

  12. Count me with the ones who rarely watch the news. The 24/7 news is I think responsible for much of the polarization of our nation. They have to dredge up "news" enough for ever minute of every day. It has made for a very strident atmosphere in our society.

  13. I love that song, Anita! As DeAnna pointed out, God is still God and He's still our Savior no matter what happens on this earth.

  14. I so needed to read this today, Niki! I had a kid-issue this morning and when I called my husband, he had to tell me not to panic. Anxiety has become my go-to mode lately! And frankly, I hate it and I'm not proud of it.

    There's another verse where God is the lifter of our heads. So He's helping me lift up my head today!

  15. Lisa, I concur with your hypothesis (sorry, doing science with 8th grader right now) about the news being responsible for our polarized society.
    A "slow news day" is when then run a happy feature story about something good going on.

  16. I agree, Susie! Anxiety has got to go AWAY, not be the go-to! Remember, anytime we undergo a crisis of some sort, even if it all turns out okay, it's very common to have anxiety rear its ugly head months later. It's like an allergic reaction. Then we get anxious about the anxiety and wind up in a nasty cycle.
    Keep looking up! Help is on the way!


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