I’m always a little baffled by the folks who read or watch certain things because it upsets them.
The media knows that we’re far more likely to read or view something that has a disturbing, negative headline. There is money to be made in being critical, manipulative, judgmental, controversial, and downright sketchy with the truth.
We’re quick to take the bait and jump to find out what’s bad, wrong, distasteful, naughty, immoral, unethical, frightening, and downright evil. It’s rather delicious, in a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad way.
Bad things happen in the world. There’s no denying that. And I’m not suggesting ostrich behavior anyway.
But our culture is full of people who feel depressed, anxious, powerless, overwhelmed, sick, and exhausted. I have to wonder how much of that comes from spending far too much time focusing on what upsets us instead of what builds hope in us.
There’s this passage of scripture in the bible about causing others to stumble in their faith, and it includes causing ourselves to stumble (Mark 9: 42-48). One of the things Jesus says there is that if your eye causes you to stumble, you should pluck it out because it’s better to enter the kingdom of heaven with one eye than to enter hell with two.
That’s kind of crazy, isn’t it? If we really followed that, who’d be left with two eyeballs?
I don’t really think Jesus was advocating eye-plucking. I believe he was employing a bit of hyperbole to make it clear how serious it is to not put ourselves into situations where the end result will surely be a weakening of our faith, a degrading of our health and well-being.
It’s not normal or good to agree that people are bad and the world is a terrible place and that it’s just getting darker, because the darker it gets, the brighter light shines, which means that darkness is always on the losing end. The only way it can gain “wins” is to get light-bearers to agree that darkness really is bigger and badder, and start dimming themselves to match that terrible belief.
If life seems to be sucking the joy out of you, if it feels painful and overwhelming and you really just wish you could find peace and happiness, then maybe it’s time to declare a fast. Change the diet of what you feed your soul and spirit.
Consider something new instead. What builds your sense of wonder? What awes you with beauty? What makes you laugh? What makes you sigh in peace? What inspires you to be a better person? What encourages you to make the world around you a better place? What roots and grounds you in hope and love?
Yeah…maybe think about those things.