Here are 5 ways Christians should interact with the news.

Here are 5 ways Christians should interact with the news.

1. Recognize that objectivity in reporting is virtually impossible.

   Some networks, reporters, and journalists certainly try harder than others to present an objective analysis of events, but total objectivity—for any human being—is virtually impossible. God, alone, holds an omniscient point of view with a full understanding of “the full story”—including people’s biases, motivations, and influences. While this shouldn’t discourage Christians from paying attention to what is happening in the world, it should give readers and listeners pause before claiming that one outlet, reporter, or publisher gets everything right.

2. Understand that news has a growing bent toward entertainment.

   Even the journalists who are most committed to telling the truth about current events work for networks owned by companies who are often most concerned with presenting a certain political opinion and ratings. And nothing improves ratings (and therefore advertising dollars) like entertainment.

   The current culture has turned news into entertainment and entertainment into news. A classic example of this occurred in March of this year when CBS chose to highlight the real-life humanitarian crisis in Myanmar by weaving it into an episode of its fictional show, “Madam Secretary.” Its rating were average, but earlier in the evening, Anderson Cooper interviewed the porn star who claimed to have had a sexual relationship with President Trump. That “news” episode drew over 21 million viewers, at least three times more than “Madam Secretary.” This example is not unique. The lines have been blurred between news and entertainment.

3. Accept that much of “news” is noise.

   Social media has made everyone an expert, blurring the lines between “fact” and “opinion” (and subsequently between “opinion pieces” and “news stories”). Need proof of this?—Post a political statement of any kind on Facebook and watch what happens. Political discourse—specifically—and news in general often becomes a contest to see who can talk the loudest, and the ensuing digital noise is astounding.

   Christians are called to, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Colossians 4:6). Nothing for the Christian should be more important than being like Jesus.

   While free speech is a good and Constitutionally protected right, it does not mean every opinion is a good one. Sometimes the best thing to do is to disconnect and engage with quiet thought before responding.

4. Believe that truth is a rare commodity.

   Nothing is more cringe-worthy than someone who perpetuates a fake story or pedals a piece of satire as truth. Christians have a responsibility to practice discernment—not to avoid the current culture, but to engage it with wisdom and careful judgment. Believers are already accused of following a fabricated Savior and treasuring a fictional Book, so it is of incredible importance that Christians become masters at fact-checking and making decisions based on evidence rather than on gossip.

   In the Christian life, especially, Truth matters. It must. In sending out His twelve disciples, Jesus said, “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16).

5. Trust that God has everything under control.

Yes, the world is in rough shape, but guess what? It has been ever since sin entered the Garden of Eden. Satan was the first propaganda peddler, and there has been no shortage ever since.

   So what are Christians to do with the news cycle?—look for responsible journalism. Seek news outlets committed to verifying facts and presenting evidence wherever possible. Listen for spin and fearmongering.

   And ultimately … Christians should pray for those in power that God would hold their hearts in His hand, turning them wherever He will (Proverbs 21:1).

   Bottom line: Christians cannot be consumed by the news, but neither is it wise to run from it.