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  • Writer's pictureChere

Is The Media Becoming Our Modern Day Idol Version of the Golden Calf?

Updated: Dec 15, 2019

Breaking News. How often have you heard those two words in the past year? Probably too often. If you're like most Americans, you may have gotten swept up into the constant barrage of news that comes barreling through the television, internet and radio at break neck speed. Every day there is a breaking story, something to debate, to be angry or fearful about, or disgusted by and it is causing rifts and ripples in our communities, our families, churches and our world. Breaking news is consuming our days, distracting us from our families and worst of all taking our attention away from the sovereign God. Has breaking news become our new idol?

As citizens we have a responsibility to be informed, but as Christians we have a responsibility to keep our eyes and our hearts on God. CNN, MSNBC, Fox News whatever your posion is, draws us in and ignites our emotions like a flame to gasoline. I'm not demonzing the media because it's their job is to report the news, to keep us informed about current events and I'm thankful for the freedom of press. However, are we paying more attention to the anchors than to our true anchor...the Lord? In this tumultous political climate there is an obsession with breaking news that is hijacking our conversations, our time, and taking up space in our minds. I'm surprised by the number of people who tell me that they flip on the news from the moment they get home until they go to bed and some admit that the last words they hear is Rachel Maddow playing on a podcast in the background before they shut their eyes.

I'm guilty of jumping on the breaking news bandwagon as well, so there is no judgment here. However, I had to check myself when the first thing I was reaching for in my morning daze was my phone to scan it for any breaking news updates that occured while I was sleeping. I realized that I had very inadverdently redirected my attention from God to the secular world. I found myself feeling agitated and even sad because I was internalizing all these events that were out of my control instead of surrendering to the one who is in control...God.

I was unintentionally creating an idol that was taking my focus off of God and his sovereignty. Exodus 20:3, says,"You shall have no other gods before me." Obviously, I'm not praying to a golden calf or to MSNBC, but if I'm being honest, my attention was diverted. We have to be so careful that we do not allow the media frenzy which has morphed into a normalized part of our daily life to become an idol to us. The enemy wants us to become distracted, to live in strife and to be anxiety ridden. When our mind is filled with secular worries our faith is weakened. It's easy to misplace our faith by putting it in people and depending on them to put forth the truth so that justice is served, but we must remember that God is the only real judge who will judge with righteousness and fairness.

Instead of watching the news for hours on end we need to dive into the scripture and read intently on how we should handle these precarious times we find ourselves navigating through. Let's stop searching the internet and start searching our hearts on how we should treat one another as people created in the image of God. Listening to one another will do more good and give us more understanding of each other's circumstances than listening to the nightly news. We are living in a delicate time that requires us to look within and upward to God. We can't afford to allow any idols to blur our vision. We must see clearly how God want us to conduct ourselves.

Our assurance shouldn't come through a television screen, but through our faith in the Lord. The thing about idols is they give you a false sense of security. If we believe that we're well informed then somehow maybe all of this will get better. When in fact we need to be focused on reflecting Christ in our homes, our schools, our communties, and to our brothers and sisters. We can't do this if our attention isn't on God or if we forget who is in control. The more informed about who we are in Christ, how we should behave toward others, and the character of God than we are better equipped to go out into the world and make a difference, not matter how big or small.

I believe that people are fearful and uncertain of the direction in which our country is headed and they are searching for understanding, albeit in the wrong places. But, let us think about Psalm 16:8, which states, " I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken." When we are rooted in our faith and our spiritual foundation is firm we can not be shaken. The world can be crumbling down around us, but if we are steadfast in keeping our eyes on the Lord, we will not be shaken. There are so many idols vying for our attention, but let's not stray. Let's not allow the news to take up our precious time. Instead, take that time back and focus on God and seize every opportunity availble to be an instrument of peace to those around you and that is the real breaking news...the good news of the gospel.

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