Why Christians Must Follow the News
Sometimes I lament the news. I wish we weren't a global society. I think about what it would be like to only know the events of my local community. What if I didn't know about violence erupting a couple of states away? What if I was ignorant of human injustice on foreign soil?
I don't want to know about all the hard and horrible things happening all over our planet. I am tempted to tune out and applaud myself for it as if being ignorant to the evils of the world was a noble endeavor.
This morning while reading Philippians, a verse stood out to me. In Philippians Chapter 1 verse 9, Paul says, "And this is my prayer, that your love may abound more in knowledge and depth of insight."
I don't want to have more knowledge of the hard things happening in the world but the truth is, when my knowledge increases, I have the opportunity to learn more. When I learn more, I have deeper insight, and that insight increases my compassion.
For example, last year, I learned about redlining for the first time. (I won't unpack it for you, but here is an amusing video to get you started.) The knowledge I gained changed how I thought of racism. My deeper insight changed how I considered people, and it is prompting me to re-evaluate my own behaviors. As a result, my love has increased and will continue to grow. Would it be easier not to know about this evil that was done in my country and that I have benefitted from? Yes, probably, but it is better that my love should abound in knowledge and depth of insight. And, for the record, I've found that deeper insight often comes from considering multiple sources. If a hard issue tugs at my heart, it is always worth taking the time to read analysis from multiple sources, even sources I don't naturally agree with.
I am encouraged today not to tune out, but to learn more, on purpose, facing the hard things so that I have deeper insight into how to love people better. It is not Christian to "stay above the fray." A lack of turmoil in your life does not automatically make you a more loving person. Jesus called us to take up our cross and share his sufferings. Today, taking up your cross may mean choosing to follow the news, even though you'd rather not know.
I only gave a single example of where knowledge and deeper insight has helped increase my love, there are so many more. In the comments, share with us about a time in your life when choosing to learn more about hard things helped increase your love and compassion.