June 2018: Thought For The Month
Good news in a world of trouble
Many of us are addicted to the news. We can tune into 24-hour news bulletins at any time, keep track of current events on our smartphones and tablets to see news of events around the world and can also be avid readers of the daily newspapers. Have you noticed that the vast majority of news items are bad news? Every day we are told of violent deaths, disasters, terrorism and economic troubles. Is it any wonder that many people suffer from depression?
I remember one man saying that he always turned to the back pages of the newspaper first, not so much because he was a sports fan, but because the back pages told him about human achievements rather than human failures. Sometimes, to alleviate the barrage of bad news items, news broadcasts finish with a small positive story, which is often humorous.
In daily life we often have to cope with bad news. Losing our job, being diagnosed with a serious illness or the death of someone we love will cause us considerable stress. As we grow older, bad news tends to become more frequent. We all have a great need for some really good news.
The message about Jesus Christ is good news. When Jesus was born the angels announced “good news of great joy.” At the beginning of his public ministry he proclaimed the good news of God’s Kingdom, calling people to turn from their broken lives and to trust in him. This emphasis on our less-than-perfectness is often seen to be negative, but much of the bad news we hear is related to people who have done bad things. Jesus said that we all need to change, whether we are religious or not.
It is a wonderfully liberating thing to know that a new beginning is possible. Last week I watched a media clip of a church service in Moldova. The man leading the service and the four men leading the singing had all been members of the mafia and had been involved in violent crimes, but have now become Christians. Their lives have been transformed. Their lives have a new direction and new meaning and they want others to share in that liberation too. Now that’s a really good news story which offers hope to us all.