Good News and Bad News?
Let me start with a simple question – Do you want the Good News or Bad News First?
I have been asked and have asked that question many times. Usually the two pieces of news are related. For example – dinner is done; however, I burnt it – good news and bad news. BTW: that is a real life example, repeated multiple times!
Some people want the bad news first. They want to get it over with. They think that hearing the good news second will help to overcome the bad news. Others want the good news first. They would like to start off happy and they think that, that feeling will blunt the impact of the bad news. Either way, whatever this news is about, it means that something wasn’t completely bad or completely good. Kind of a wash.
The challenge becomes when the news is overwhelmingly bad. Now, I point to the bad rather than the good, because let’s face it nothing can be overwhelmingly good. Except maybe Mississippi Mud Pie, which after about 10 bites becomes overwhelmingly overwhelming!
I am a news junky. And so, I have been asked more than once if there is any news other than about COVID-19. And with the exception of Canada being abandoned by Harry and Meghan, I’m not sure that there is anything else happening in this world. And right now the bad news is overwhelmingly bad.
If we were to go back to my opening question – good news or bad news first – I’m not sure there is much good news that would offset the onslaught of bad news. And, if we hunt for good news, how do we not make it sound trite, or desperate, or irrelevant. After all, the coming in April of a very large comet called Atlas is probably only good news for astronomers and those who don’t spend all their time looking down at their smart phone. Or, the birth of twin Pandas last September in Germany is too old to matter now.
Besides, if we start to base our wellbeing on the quantity of good and bad news we receive we would end up much like what James writes, “People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves” – James 1:6 (MSG). I like the context of this quote from James, because just preceding it he talks about dealing with challenges and test of our faith, “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.” James 1:2 (MSG). I’m not sure I have ever felt that the trials I have faced have been a gift, but on the other hand who I am and how I handle “stuff” certainly comes from the fires I have walked through.
So, what I’m getting at here is, we can’t rely on good news offsetting bad news in order to find some kind of balance, or peace. Sometimes the bad news is just plain awful, overwhelming, discouraging and too big to handle. That is when trying to find enough good news to offset it will not satisfy. The offset is going to come from something deeper. Something far more profound. Something that I would argue only God can provide in our lives.
So yah, go ahead and look for good news, that is certainly healthier than burying yourself in doom and gloom, but if you are going to find peace in the midst of this onslaught then look for something deeper than a cat video, or the latest baby zoo animal birth.
Take care. – Kevin.
February 18, 2021
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