The world seems to be getting more and more unstable these days. Between storms that once again wreaked havoc on the West Coast of Central America; the struggle with Isis; human trafficking thriving in Eastern Europe; one of the most laughable presidential campaigns happening in ‘leading nation of the free world’ and massive tension around the Universities of South Africa – you can be tempted to lose hope.

We have access to news like no other generation ever has. If we want to know what the socio-economic challenges of Guatemala are, it’s a few punches of a keyboard away. The truth is, whether we like it or not, we are now living in a time when we have access to everything, which forces us to have a bigger worldview. But were we ever made to see everything? To know everything? There is an amazing sense of freedom in ignorance.

Personally, I find it exciting that people have access to facts and unfolding events like we do have today. We are no longer manipulated by the bias leanings of a newspaper editor. The economy of a page is no longer a factor in the world of news. But there are two problems that arise from this.

  1. It is hard to trust online media.
    I am sure you have come across sites that look official – with catchy headlines that tend to draw a certain demographic in – only to realise that what you are reading is inconsequential, or could even simply just be false. Facebook has given an open platform for people to voice their current (seldom thought-through) opinion on everything. And there will be an article on the internet somewhere to reinforce that claim.
    One question to consider is this: What does it take to be a successful online journalist? All you need is a laptop, some basic linguistic ability, maybe a few Photoshop skills and something sensational that will draw people to your site. No longer is the goal truly to inform, but to attract interest. Sensationalism is not an old concept born out of this problem, but it is running rampant online. And readers are being caught up in a whirlwind of emotional, out of context fact-throwing that has the power to manipulate anyone who cares.
  2. The weight of the world is too great for us to bear
    If you have one empathetic bone in your body, you can find yourself overwhelmed and exhausted by all the tragedy that is happening in the world. But because there are so many complex issues resulting in injustice on many levels, exhaustion and helplessness can set in rather than motivation for change. When everything weighs on your soul, it is hard to know where to start in terms of fixing the problem.

I still believe that at the core of humanity, we desire good. But left to our own devices, we can cause a whole lot of evil through misunderstanding, offense, selfishness, pain and fear. There is no simple case when it comes to injustice. Whether it be the result of years and years of social misconduct, or violence brought on by political disagreement, the complexities of situations go far deeper than the headlines or few minutes of video we see online. Every person suffering has a story. Every person causing the suffering has a story. It is impossible to simply scroll through my social feed without being confronted with at least five urgent, terrible issues people are facing in the world. And the temptation is either to give up and just care about myself – to stop listening and choose to be ignorant, or to take it all on and despair on behalf of my fellow human – whether I can identify with them based on race, socio-economic situation, nationality, shared experience of injustice or simply because they are human.

As a Christian, I cannot give in to either temptation. I know that Jesus had compassion for those who suffered. He loved those who were completely different to him and blessed those who were beating him to death publically. I also know Jesus had no time for gossip, sensationalism, political or racial intolerance. When faced with the prejudices of the day, he always highlighted the individual. He identified with one person’s need and brought hope in that situation. I also know Jesus, with the Holy Spirit, is the ultimate authority on truth. He can discern what is right and what is manipulation. He can see the true issues amidst all the emotional repercussions.

So in response to this tragic world, what do we do?

  1. We build our relationship with Jesus. If we know him, our souls are regulated by the personal connection with God, not the external forces that could easily rock us if we have no foundation. When you know Jesus personally, you will be led into all truth – not just fact, but truth. In this way, I believe Christians are equipped to find solutions where others only see the problem.
  2. We pray. Jesus says to cast our cares on him. If something is weighing on our souls, then let it direct your prayers before posting something online. God is the ultimate comforter. Prayer is simply talking to God – and his perspective is an exhaustive understanding of every element at play in this world. Out of conversation with him, you will be able to live free and effectively.

The world needs more people that truly care and have the right perspective to affect change. I believe the only way this is possible is through a genuine relationship with God – a God who loves you and me uniquely and has specific intentions for your life and how it can change this world. Click on the link below if you would like to respond to him.



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