You Want to be Happy? Turn Off the News!

And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is not yet.

Mark 13:7, RSV


I got to thinking today how unsettled everything seems to be in this world in which we live. At first glance it seems like things are worse than they have ever been, but when I start thinking about it a bit more I realize that every day I have followed the news for the last few years it has seemed like things were worse than they had ever been. It finally dawns on me that I have been listening to the wrong news, for those who give "The News" have a vested interest in things being so bad that you must continue tuning in to see what is going to happen and what you need to do about it.


Do you really believe that this is how God wants us to live, in this perverse state of continual impending doom?


In fact, we know it is not for He has given us a book that is filled with Good News. Consider the following passages:

And the angel said to them, "Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people..., Luke 2:10, RSV

He said to them, "I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose...",  Luke 4:43, RSV

Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this scripture he told him the good news of Jesus...,  Acts 8:35, RSV

You know the word which he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace by Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all)..., Acts 10:36, RSV

And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers..., Acts 13:32, RSV


We could go on and on with Scripture after Scripture with references to the good news, but I think you get the general idea: God wants us to surround ourselves with His good news! Since this is clearly the case, why do we continue to give such little thought to the Good News, and pay so much attention to the bad? Our first response might be that we want to be both informed and prepared, and these are certainly valid reasons to want to keep up with the news, but very poor reasons indeed to saturate ourselves with its pessimism and negativity. It is one thing to be aware of the mud puddles, it is another entirely to jump in and wallow in them.


So, what is the solution? Is it to simply ignore what is going on and take our chances? I don't believe that to be a good answer at all, but I am convinced of this: We could all stand to watch a little less of the bad news and begin to pay a lot more attention to the Good News. I believe that if we would do that we would not only be a lot happier, but we could also begin to offer genuine help to those in need, for what good is it to just be aware of the bad news if we cannot counter it with the life giving blessings of the Good News of Jesus Christ?