How are you informing yourself these days? How do you find truth? The distance between the narratives grows wider and wider by the minute. The distance between us grows wider as well.
Many people rely on only a few channels for news & information, maybe even just one. They rarely consult other sources. For example, if CNN or FOX are your main sources of news, you are getting a spoon-fed message designed to manipulate you. Even if you look beyond mainstream media, independent reporting can also be one sided, even radically.
It’s very easy to be convinced of something you want to be convinced of.
That’s also why when you surf Instagram, FB, YouTube, Tik Tok or whatever, they show you content that reinforces your beliefs (the stuff you like). Those platforms won’t challenge the narrative going on in your head.
So if you think the current crisis is all due to a hoax, then you get served info that supports that position. If you think a street protest is justified, the algorithms help solidify this in your brain. Left, right, or center, it’s not the media’s job to enrich your point of view. Instead, it only keeps you on a channel or app as long as possible.
It gets you addicted to your own thoughts—which is pretty easy to do.
And we wonder why we are more divided than ever.
Listening does not mean agreeing
To break out of this mode, you must consciously, even forcefully, challenge your views. If you are a conservative, you should actively search for progressive views and vice versa. You’ll discover a lot of smart people and arguments on both sides. Then you can cultivate a more informed interpretation of things.
Very few people do this. Very few genuinely listen today. Everybody cancels the other side—at least in our minds. So we watch a few channels and simply repeat the same narrative to ourselves. And since we love conflict and drama—the news that feeds resentment gets more traction. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing the ‘bad guy’ get bashed. Hollywood taught us this since we were 3 years old.
BUT in the process, we forget something fundamental. And in the forgetting, that’s where Satan works—in the shadow of our consciousness.
Remember who we are
The ones we disagree with are people. They are humans. They are sons and daughters and mothers and fathers. The soldier in full combat gear is. The protester dressed in all black is. The pro-life and the pro-choice are too. You are. I am. We’ve all been wounded. We’ve all been hurt. We’ve all sinned against God. We’re all human.
Instead of a human, however, we’re tempted to categorize the ‘other’ as sub-human. We demonize those we don’t agree with. We label them so it makes them easier to silence, hate, or even kill if necessary.
Meanwhile, behind the scenes, the real narrative builders take advantage of this tendency for nefarious motives. They don’t really care about any issues as they only seek to control the masses. One dimensional, emotionally charged messages work wonderfully for them.
Check your thoughts and emotions. Examine your conscience. Be honest with yourself. Do you feel hate against people you don’t even know? Remember, hate is a weapon. If you use it against enemies, you might also use it against friends and loved ones.
So who’s right then? Anyone? No one?
The Democrats? The Republicans? The protesters? The military? The medical experts? The President? Those who love him? Those who hate him? The naysayers? China? Russia? The USA? The woke? The alt-right? Who?
Who is on the side of righteousness? Or is it all just relative? If nobody is really right or wrong, what then? What hope is there for the future?
The answer? None of us are right. At least not if what drives you is a spirit of condemnation.
It’s one thing to disagree or to stand up for your rights. But once we openly—or secretly in our hearts—condemn someone to oblivion, then a new measuring stick appears. Be careful what you measure with it.
According to the prophet Isaiah, all our righteousness is but filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). This means we’re all deeply stained somehow. Sounds about right to me.
I’m amazed at how quick people are these days to demonize others. Whole swaths of human beings are identified as enemies and less than human. Deep resentment rages within tribes, and many hunger to put someone ‘in their place’. Great atrocities against humanity arise out of this kind of sickness.
How should we navigate this then? How can we come to grips?
We must rise above it. How? Humble yourself.
The heavenly standard of measurement
How did Jesus do it? He didn’t deny the difference between right and wrong. There was no moral relativity in his teaching. It was very explicit, demanding even.
If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out, he said. No moral ambiguity there.
Love your enemy. Ouch. Gouging out my eye might be easier.
Our Lord knew it was, and always will be, a matter of the heart. It goes far beyond what’s right and wrong. He didn’t say, approve of your enemy’s evil deeds. He said to love your enemy. Jesus sets the bar very high, so high it reaches heaven.
And that’s the secret to navigating our troubled world without getting poisoned by it. Right now, battle lines are being drawn. They true lines aren’t so obvious though, and you might miss the boundaries. Instead of being between political parties, tribes, or countries, the true fight is spiritual. It’s good vs. evil. This battle rages under the surface, unseen, but it’s the truest, hardest fight of all.
Identify the true struggle
I don’t want to be on the ‘winning’ side if it means mass killing, manipulation, deceit, oppression, corruption, or moral compromise.
Yet you can still fight and fight hard. But let it be a fight of service. Let it be a fight for love.
Jesus does not condone sin, nor does he condemn the sinner. On the contrary, he forgives it all and gives his life for it all.
Do you see the spiritual power in this?
Do you see the fierce battle being waged against this now?
We excuse the worst behavior to win. We crucify those against us. Then we claim the moral high ground in victory. Even many Christians deny the true Gospel of Christ in this way. Even worse, they say God is on their side. Blasphemy, I say.
Break free of the narratives that drive you to hate and rage. Tune into the Good News of the Gospel instead.
Worried about the world? Want to do something? Do it by fighting that venomous attitude that says, ‘superiority gives me the right’. This is the fight that never makes the headlines, but it’s part of the salvation of the world.
Stay informed. Seek varied news sources to get the whole story. Decide where you stand on issues. And always, always, protect your heart from the spirit of condemnation.
Instead, let in the Spirit of Truth. Let in the Spirit of God.
Then exercise Christ-like service to your fellow human, no matter who they are. Maybe we are all but filthy rags—but in the hands of our Lord, these rags can be cleansed and used to restore, bring shine, and even bandage a wound.
Even the wound of an enemy.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
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