Stressing over the News

“So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

I have a few old friends on Facebook who know everything. Well, they don’t actually know everything, but in their own mind, they know everything. A lot of important and painful things are going on in our world. Watching the news seems to be a more frustrating experience every day.
Sometimes we may need to tune out all of that negative news just to make it through. Is there a way we can continue to see all this bad news and really care about what is happening while preserving our own emotional health and well-being?
First, we need to renew our commitment to prayer. Jesus is the source of our compassion and wisdom. Jesus sustains our spirit. When we take prayer seriously, Jesus renews our energy for the work of God’s kingdom. Prayer also helps us remember our own weakness. Our bad habits and sinful tendencies can get in the way of our desire to truly influence the world. Prayer also reminds us that the work of God’s kingdom is a long arc toward justice.
Second, we can find something positive to support and be involved in. Wherever you feel the heart of God calling you, look for organizations or groups that are working toward that and get involved. Remember that God’s kingdom is about love and doing what is right toward other people. Find a way to support that work. Build those relationships among your brothers and sisters in your own church.
Third, tell the truth, as best you can, including the truth that you don’t know all the answers. Humility is supposed to be a Christian virtue but so many Christians in public spaces are shouting hateful lies as truth. James says we should be “quick to listen” and “slow to speak” (James 1:19). We should speak up frankly and forcefully when evil is being done. But we should be careful that we are speaking the truth.
Fourth, pay attention to your own stress level and walk away for a time to take care of yourself. If you find yourself feeling uncontrollably angry or having thoughts of wanting to hurt yourself or someone else, reach out to your pastor or a professional counselor. A lot of sin occurs because we do not deal with our inner stresses.

Love in Christ,
Greg

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