I’m not sure if I should admit this, but after serious consideration, I have decided to come clean with you all…
I don’t watch the news on TV as much anymore!!!
As soon as I write this, I feel a sense of irresponsibility and a failure to uphold my civic duty to be an informed citizen. Especially since I was raised in a family who were always au fait with current affairs and usually had opinions on just about everything. Furthermore, they were quite happy to share their opinion and argue the point with any poor unsuspecting passer-by who happened to say hello!!
Seriously, I can still remember as a primary school child, having dinner in front of the TV and watching the news reader of all news readers, Eric Pearce, deliver the daily bulletin. One would hang off his every word as he looked at you in such a reassuring manner, which, despite what he was telling you about the world, conveyed the message that all would be well.
And of course, the way Sir Eric would finish off the news bulletin, each night, would reinforce that sense of peace. He would pause for a moment and then in his rich, deep voice deliver what almost became a benediction…
“Goodnight and… God bless you and you!”
If you have never seen a broadcast by Sir Eric, I suggest you make yourself a cup of tea, grab an arrowroot biscuit and google him and watch the master at work…
So, with such a heritage, why now at my age would I make such a change? Well, in a nutshell, watching the news every night was simply becoming too heavy for me to bear and I needed to take back some control as to what images and information I was exposing myself to.
Now of course, I am not advocating that everyone should stop watching the evening news. That would be an inappropriate suggestion, as it really is up to the individual. However, for myself personally, given the massive amounts of information, images and video available to us in this day and age, I felt compelled to make some very deliberate choices about what I choose to expose myself to.
For at the end of the day knowledge is heavy!!!
Corrie ten Boom, holocaust survivor, in her book “The Hiding Place” tells the story of a conversation she and her father had when she was a young girl. While Corrie and her father were on a train ride, she asked him about “sexsin”. Rather than answering her directly, Corrie’s father sat quietly, contemplating his next move, before reaching above his head and hoisting down a heavy suitcase.
“Will you carry it off the train, Corrie?” her father finally asked.
After a brief struggle to lift the suitcase, Corrie confessed her inability to heft it off the ground: “It’s too heavy.”
“Yes,” he said. “And it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load. It’s the same way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older and stronger you can bear it. For now, you must trust me to carry it for you.”
I would suggest that it is not only children who find that knowledge can be heavy, but adults as well. Afterall, wasn’t it the tree “of the knowledge of good and evil” that the Lord God told Adam and Eve they were not to eat of? And we all know what happened when they ignored His command about that.
Or didn’t Paul in his letter to the Corinthians tell his readers…
“It’s alright to have a childlike unfamiliarity with evil; a simple no is all that is needed there.” 1Corinthians 14:20 b (MSG)
Rick Warren when talking about how to reduce stress in your life expressed the following sentiment…
The battle with stress is in our brains, in our thought life, and this battle is won or lost in our minds. What we fill our minds with will determine the level of stress in our lives. If you want peace of mind, you are going to have to start controlling what you want in it. For most people their mind is like a freeway and anything can drive through it. They fill their mind with all kinds of unhealthy things, which can’t help but come out again in unhealthy, destructive ways. If you like, this becomes a form of “mind pollution.”
So, one of the key ways of lowering stress in our lives is to control what we allow into our minds by making deliberate choices as to what we expose ourselves to.
Furthermore, Paul when writing to the Philippians encourages them to…
“Fill you minds with those things that are true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and beautiful and respected. If anything is excellent, if anything is worthy of honour think about those things.” Phil4:8. (NSV/NASB)
Paul is telling his readers to make thoughtful choices as to what they think about and then goes on to give them some pretty clear guidelines as to what those things should be. Things that are true, good, right, pure, beautiful, respected and honourable. A “litmus test” for what we think about.
However, this list is more than simply a set of thought guidelines. Does it not also form a picture of God?
As we fix our thoughts upon the Lord, by his Spirit, through his word, and through his creation are we not also focusing on all things on that list? Furthermore, as we do this is it really so surprising to think our stress levels will tend to dissipate?”
We read in the book of Isaiah…
“You Lord, will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, and whose thoughts are fixed on you.” Isaiah 26:3 (NLT)
What a wonderful truth for us to take to heart and claim. That as we make deliberate choices to resist thinking upon those unhealthy things which clamour for our attention, and instead fix our focus on Him who is pure and right. So, we will have his perfect peace.
Or as Corrie Ten Boom put it…
“If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at Christ you’ll be at rest.”