Years ago, while helping to lead a children’s outreach with Youth With a Mission, I learned a children’s chorus based on a portion of Ephesians 4:31-32 (KJV) – “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you“ Emphasis mine.
As I have watched the situation in the United States unfold this week, this little verse has become my prayer.
Help us, Dear Lord, to be kind.
When we feel marginalized and unheard, help us be kind to those who try to drown out our voice.
When we feel frightened and confused, help us to be kind to ourselves and to take the time to rest, to spend time with you and to pour out our angry, unsettled emotions to you first!
When we shake our head at protestors, and we are tempted to judge their motivations, help us to remember the times our own motivations have been misjudged by others.
Even when we feel we have a biblical reason to disagree with another person’s opinion, help us to be kind in our respectful response.
When we are slandered, keep our lips closed if we are tempted to respond in kind.
When we are labeled things that we are not, help us to go to your Word and remind ourselves of who we are and then walk those qualities out.
When we are tempted to post demeaning memes, snarky tweets, or unsubstantiated rumours to make our point, help us to remember the simple adage. “Is it kind, is it true, is it necessary?” I would add one more to that list. “Is it something that will advance God’s kingdom of love?”
My dear readers, although my heart is deeply grieved about what is happening not just in the United States but in nations across the world, I am not surprised. Modern media is not the news media of our pasts. News clips are carefully staged and edited. Recently, photos have surfaced that have exposed the staging of crime scenes and protest marches by major networks so they could sensationalize a story they are covering. Placing police caution tape when the police had not set tape up, asking protestors to look angrier or to crowd together for a better photo shot, etc.
Politicians representing both the left and the right are victims of media carefully editing sound bytes and even videos so those a particular news agency opposes are seen in the most negative way possible. Independently run news agencies are very few and far between. One major corporation owns one major cable news channel and five major magazines that are very popular and are plastered on most newsstands. International news stories are not covered by several news agencies in the United States. News censorship may not be happening at a governmental level but it most certainly is through news organizations choices of what kind of stories they will cover and what kind of news stories that they will ignore.
Christians, we MUST stop being lazy in our research. We must stop making decisions based on sound bytes! We have to stop relying on shared articles on Facebook and so-called news blogs that are editorial in nature and who do not back up their opinions with hard solid facts.
If such agencies rely on advertising income solely based on the visitors to their website, you can bet your bottom dollar they will be sensational as possible in their reporting to draw more people to their site. We need to look at the dates of articles that continually recirculate across the web. Here is an informational video that I found that explains the phenomena of ‘fake news’ or ‘clickbait news’ that many of my readers fall victim to.
I can’t keep track of the number of times I have seen the same meme appear on my Facebook news feed, talking about an incident that happened 4 years ago. The meme suggests the current press is not covering the news story even though it happened years ago and was well covered by every news agency I know of. If I may be blunt, we must stop being so lazy! Check your sources thoroughly before reposting anything, retweeting or forwarding on a scandalous headline.
Seek truth, be wise, be honest, and most of all, be hopeful! If you are feeling hopeless today, turn off social media, turn off the news! Spend time with the Lord. Take Paul’s advice to heart. Consider going on a social media and news fast for a couple of days.
Philippians 4:8 – “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
All Bible verses, unless otherwise attributed, are from the English Standard Version (ESV).
Until Next Week
©2016 Katherine Walden
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