What is today’s disaster du jour? It might be a genuine catastrophe, like the violent conflicts in Israel and Ukraine, MH17, or vulnerable children at our borders. Or, perhaps it’s the usual polarized political theater in Washington inciting fear of the other side.
Daily disasters can induce a simmering state of fear, like a dull headache that clouds logical thinking.
We don’t have to live that way.
Following are three steps that help me to deconstruct disasters du jour. I’ll use the recent Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby as my case study.
Identifying a disaster du jour
I read the news of the Hobby Lobby decision with interest but did not realize it was a disaster du jour until I started to notice the fearful reactions surrounding it. Was it really a massive setback for women’s right?
Find the facts and filter out bias
That’s when I started checking facts. What does the ruling actually say? Who is reporting the facts? Who is peddling fear? Have I consulted a variety of perspectives?
It is vital to recognize and filter for bias in news or opinion pieces. Everyone has a bias, even if they agree with you. I do my best to get the whole story by seeking reliable sources from various points along the ideological spectrum.
Reject sources with obvious bias. One response to the Hobby Lobby decision was so vicious, arrogant and blatantly biased that I ignored every word of it. The author’s hubris and hostility betrayed an arrogant and angry heart that is incompatible with reason. I will not waste my time on that site again.
Apply solid theology and rest in faith.
I did not lose sleep over the Hobby Lobby decision, but other events are genuine disasters. Should we not be afraid?
No. We should be wise and we should be faithful. Wisdom comes from a clear view of reality, starting with the truth about who God is and who we are. In short, God created the world, loves the world and is firmly in control of global events. The world is a mess, because we are all sinful to the core. By the grace of God, Jesus redeemed us and will one day restore the world to its perfect state. By faith, we are safe in God’s hands now and forever. That truth is the beginning of wisdom.
When we add theological wisdom to a well-reasoned examination of current events, we will be less inclined to obey fear peddlers. Instead, we think and act in wisdom.
Faith is the most effective antidote to fear. Wise faith. Well reasoned faith. Faith in Jesus Christ, the One who has overcome this frightening world.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
How do you respond to disasters du jour? I’m still working on this, and I welcome your perspectives.