Finding Common Ground

As a pastor, the temptation in life is to try to fix everything for everyone. Maybe it comes with being the person who regularly stands in front of a crowd and tells them, “This is what God says.” When we seek to speak God’s words to people for long enough, maybe we can develop a bit of a god complex. So, I am resisting the temptation to try to make sense of this election, to rebuke those with whom I may disagree, or to comfort/encourage those with whom I agree. I do not have any answers to take away the fear or resentment many feel.

Instead, I have been looking at my own life. More and more, I am realizing that despite some of the diversity in my life, I often only hear one side of a story. The news shows and sites I read give one perspective and often peddle in fear and anxiety to keep the eyeballs coming. While this may be a fine business model for them, it is not good for my soul. I can begin picking up on their fear and anxiety. Rather than seeing a world filled with the work of God and the activity of his Spirit, my eyes drift toward the evil, the sad, and what offends my sensibilities. I nurse minor offenses and grievances and slowly feed the anger and resentment in my soul. Rather than nourishing the fruit of the Spirit, I find the fruit of sin secretly growing behind my perceived self-righteousness and moral superiority. In the process, my ability to love as Christ loves begins to atrophy.

Further, I can begin to see those who disagree with me through the lens of that fear rather than through the lens of God’s love and grace. I can stereotype their experience and worldview as a way to dismiss them rather than listening to their concerns and perspective. I can look to find their false beliefs as a way to demonstrate my superiority rather than looking to find the log in my own eye. 

I can’t fix a broken media. I can’t change the habits of others. I can’t undo the financial motivations for news organizations to play to their base and drive clicks and eyeballs. But I can choose where I focus my attention. So, I decided this morning, I am turning away from my favorite news sites that feed my sense of pride and superiority and instead looking to find news organizations that traffic more on straight up news than opinion pieces. So far, I am leaning toward United Press International and Reuters. Maybe more will come, maybe not.

And even more, I am committed to stop wasting my time reading news story after news story and opinion piece after opinion piece and focus more of that energy in prayer and listening to God’s voice in the midst of life rather than the words of partisans selling my eyeballs to the highest bidder.

   © zion reformed church 2012