Every evening, my wife and I typically watch the 6:30 p.m. national news broadcast on one of the television networks. I know that in today’s age of Twitter and instant, mobile news updates that the nightly news broadcasts have lost much of the prominence they once had. Nevertheless, we still enjoy the daily synopsis of the day’s headlines. Many of these broadcasts often include a “feel good” story or an inspiring story at the very end of the broadcast.
These stories often help us keep the other news headlines in their proper perspective. The truth is, the sky is not falling, things are not nearly as awful as we are often led to believe, and there is plenty of good and inspiring people all around us to give us hope for the future of humanity. With the advent of 24-hour cable news networks, I’ve often wondered why there hasn’t been a network emerge that focuses only on these inspiring stories. Imagine how drastically a network like that would stand out! Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be inundated with these types of stories rather than the ones that usually consume our news cycles?
Among the cacophonous media constantly decrying the end of the world and the downfall of civilization, it can be nearly impossible to maintain an optimistic outlook on life. News outlets have long operated under the philosophy, “If it bleeds, it leads,” leaving media consumers to be bombarded by constant stories of tragedies and crimes. Even in the worst parts of the city or the most dangerous parts of our country, there are more good people than evil people and more law-abiding citizens than criminals. However, if our only window into society is the evening newscasts, we may not believe this to be the case.
The Bible has this beautiful statement in the book of Philippians that says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things” (Philippians 4:8). None of those descriptors: true, noble, right, pure, lovely, or admirable are things that we typically associate with our news coverage. Furthermore, it’s not just our news coverage that has a tendency to focus on the negative plights of society. Conversations overheard at the barber shop, the body shop, waiting in line at the post office, or witnessed on Facebook show that many people seem obsessed with the incendiary and provocative topics that are far from true or noble.
Our community is in desperate need for citizens who are able to highlight the good things happening in our community and in their lives. This time of year, beauty is all around us as flowers bloom, the sun sparkles, and we are all able to end our winter hibernation. There are medical breakthroughs, heroic actions taken by soldiers, selfless parents, benevolent philanthropists, inspiring children … the list could go on and on.
Our lives, like our society, is a constant journey between triumphs and defeats, victories and losses, jubilance and mourning. At various points in our lives, the triumphs or the defeats may take center stage, but the other never completely abandons us. Like so much of life, the key is what we choose to focus on. We have the ability to either be beacons of hope and sources of inspiration for others – passing along what we know to be true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable; or we can perpetuate the narrative of hopelessness and despair that is on display in far too many corners of our society. Just beginning each day by reassuring ourselves, “This is a good day, and I’m going to be sure that others know that,” could go a long way to touching the lives of those we come in contact with.
Adam Metz is the pastor of Alum Creek Church.