“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy; think on these things.” Philippians 4:8
For years there has been and still is talk of ‘how bad things are getting.’ I recall my good friend and mentor, who taught me much regarding the Bible had stated how many bad things that the nightly news in Spokane, Washington would report about. That was years ago, where the vast majority of news consumed would be a brief nightly show, followed by the sports and weather report, with the daily newspaper also being read by many individuals.
Clearly the Bible teaches that things will “wax worse and worse” (2 Tim. 3:13), but should we take a moment to consider these things in light of the Holy Scriptures?
Just a couple of generations ago, there was a time where news took time to spread and much of the news was more local or state, rather than reporting on every evil that was found around the globe.
While horrific events that happened in far away places could be read eventually in many local or statewide published newspapers, there was a limitation to space in those papers, as well as a certain lack on interest. For instance, one might not ever hear about a mass stabbing event in rural China, but now with the advent of the internet, likely that news will travel quite quickly and we might pickup the headline through one of the news or social media websites that we frequent.
Also a murder/suicide, a bizarre story about a couple of people shot in a restaurant in another state, a college campus incident with a couple of individuals and other such things likely would never have been placed on the nightly news or in the local newspaper. There are time limits to the amount of news that can be played nightly. With the internet, there is no limit to the amount of information that can be published, only a limitation to the headlines that are available on the main front page.
I’m sure that anyone who has ever went from one website to another that focus on news are well aware that unless it is major news, an article headline can very quickly disappear from the front page. While it usually can still be found shortly thereafter, it takes a moment to retrieve it. One should also consider that the news is not always bad things, there are also ‘feel-good’ stories, community news and event coverage that are regular staples of local or regional news. Yet with covid things changed.
Suddenly news all around the world was non-stop COVID-19 coverage. We were constantly reminded of the dangers, the rules, the regulations, the horrors of this virus that was sweeping the globe. We were told of body bags piling up, hospitals falling victim to the overwhelming amount of extremely ill. We were inundated with news regarding this global chaotic tragedy that was unfolding and there was no escaping it.
Even walking around large retailers, there would be COVID-19 safety commercials played, people at the door monitoring those entering, a reminder, with sign and more signs everywhere. The masses of individuals that adorned the face masks were a constant news reminder of the seriousness of the matter and there was no letup from government and news agencies, as well as numerous other businesses.
While I will let others discuss the ins-n-outs of covid and will let those who read such things make up their own mind as to how much overboard the governments and media went regarding their reporting of such events, complete with the death toll count being broadcast daily and considering the fact that the virus still circulates nowadays with barely any coverage as before, yet these things were being pushed and part of that forced us to think on those things, rather than “whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy.”
As I am writing this article, a good friend and pastor from Colombia shared with me an update video on the Church that he takes care of for God. The excellence and glorifying of God Almighty that is seen with the lively Church activities, the participants, the teaching of the Word of God, the memorizing of Bible verses, the excellence in preaching, the kindness, the caring hearts, the participating teachers, the engaging of the young in the things of God is so excellent my heart leaped for joy watching the video. These my friends are the things that we should think about, these are the things that we should focus on, the good work of God! The timing is impeccable for the writing of this article to rather enshrine this idea of our focus on good things, not in the sense of ‘positive thinking’ that the world has, but from a biblical perspective.
So what do we do, considering these things? Is not a consumption of all of this never ending bad news (or wicked news) that comes across mainstream websites, print and television news outlets part of the ‘evil communication’ that God’s Word warns against?
“Do not be led astray: Evil company corrupts good character.” 1st Corinthians 15:33
I came across an old Mennonite tract at the laundromat that I go to once in awhile. The tract was about The Television Set. Quoting from the tract:
“Among the world’s amusements, television is a great villain on the highway of time. It is rocking people to sleep morally and spiritually. Its sinister force of evil has crept into the living rooms of countless homes. Revolting scenes of lust and crime have gained foothold in the sanctity of the home. This danger far outweighs even the more obvious evils around us because it is right in the home and has parental approval.
Most parents have never thought of taking their children to nightclubs, theaters, and other places of filthy and questionable amusement, yet these same entertainments are paraded in front of young and old and are brought right into the home. Satan has scored a tremendous victory! Has anything ever equaled it for destroying the youth of many countries and doing it so thoroughly? It is an established fact that what goes through the eye gate makes a vivid impression. Regular TV fare includes bloody scenes of holdups, fights, murder, drinking, smoking, dancing and scantily clad men and women. Indeed, the moral and spiritual lives of many are at stake. A steady diet of brutal crime and violence, sponsored by ungodly men, is fed to millions not having the moral will to resist.”
The tract continues on, but how much more could be said about everyone with their smartphones individually consuming the same information on a regular basis? As for me, I had decided awhile ago to greatly reduce the amount of time and number of websites that I read for a ‘daily’ update. I decided to focus more on local news, yet read enough to be able to understand what is going on, in order to continue on focusing on writing relevant articles, as the Lord leads, regarding this day and age in which we live (Matt. 10:16).
I wouldn’t let my children see much of the news websites out there and all I can simply say is this:
“And if it seems evil to you to serve Jehovah, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers have served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my house, we will serve Jehovah.” Joshua 24:15