WHAT MAKES NEWS?                                             By Pastor YAU

Text: 2 Corinthians 6:3-10                                            February 19, 2006

 

INTRODUCTION: 

1)   A true story: A story in a Denver, Colorado, local newspaper reported that a $1.73 billion highway and mass transit project in the city was nearing completion on schedule and within the budget. Even though this item of news was so important to the local people, the story wasn’t on the front page with big bold types. In fact, it was tucked into a sidebar of brief summaries in small type on page 3 of the local news section. If the project had been plagued by fraud, delay, cost overruns or other problems, no doubt it would have made headlines.

2)   An observation: Many people complained that media outlets focus too much on negative news. That is why we read and see everyday reports and pictures of burning vehicles and riots, natural disasters and war-torn images and seldom see or read stories and pictures of success, good deeds, schools were rebuilt, kids were taught, stores packed with merchandise, streets crowded with cars and shoppers in Iraq. Why? Bad news sales, good news doesn’t.

 

WHY IS BAD NEWS MORE ATTRACTIVE? Even though people complain about too much bad news in the media, they still like to read and know bad news more than read and know good news. We know it is not good, but we love to read and see them. Why?

1)    It exposes our evil nature: Man was born with that evil nature which brings out the appetite of wanting to know evil things, especially bad things about others. Man may also have some good nature in him but for most of the time, the bad overshadows the good in a much larger proportion. Bad news entices our evil nature lot stronger than good news meeting our good nature.

2)    It makes us feeling better than others: Failures, especially failures of others, often times make us feeling good about ourselves. Since we are not involved in the bad news, we tend to be the judge on the failures of others. We may even secretly gloat on the mishaps and failures of others in reading bad news.

3)    It provides comfort on our own failures: Knowing that there are so many who fail so badly, we may find comfort on our own failures thinking that I am not that bad because so many people are as bad or worse than I am. When we compare ourselves with people who are worse than us, we tend to feel better.

4)    It fills the tank of our gossips: How often we talk behind people’s back about their good deeds? By learning about bad news of others, we have plenty of material for criticism and gossip mostly behind their back. This fits well in our memory system: we tend to remember bad things about others much more and longer than their good side and we talk about that lot more often.

 

WHY IS BAD NEWS BAD FOR US? Bad news is bad not just to others it is also bad for us too. Here are some reasons:

1)     Bad news causes us to be bias: If we mostly focus on the bad news of others, we tend to ignore the good side of that person and therefore we can’t be fair in making honest judgment. This is true in media reporting and it is also true on our impression on others.

2)     Bad news damages our good nature: When our true nature on the inside is overwhelmed by the cloud of bad news, there is little, if any, room for our good nature to develop. People who are used to focus on the bad side of others tend to become more critical and bitter on others than being merciful and kind and gentle. Bitterness is a natural outcome brought forth by a negative attitude on others.

3)     Bad news poisons our emotion: When a person pays attention so much on bad news, be it in the world arena or on personal misconducts of others, his emotion will be inevitably tarnished by the negative impact of the bad news. People of this kind are less happy in their personal feeling and less hope on his outlook of life and tend to lose warmth in human relationship.

4)     Bad news hurts your health: We all know the close relationship between our emotion and health. People who focus too much on bad news in the world or others tend to be affected in their immune system, their appetite, sleep, digestion and other areas related to their health condition.

 

GOOD NEWS DESERVES REPORTING: There are many unreported or under reported good news in history and around us today. Let us look at the life of Paul and find some good news in him and others like him so we may be encouraged by their good examples.

1)    The faithful in ministries: “We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited.” (6:3) Through out the 2,000 years of Christian history, countless men and women who are faithful to their call and faithful in discharging their duties. These are the unsung heroes of Christian faith. Their dedication, selfless sacrifice and consistent pursuit of excellence in serving the Lord and His church contribute to the growth and health of churches. We see many of these people here at FCBC. In a world of self seeking, news items like this are unreported.

2)    Steadfast in their endurance: (6:4-7) Paul was steadfast in his faith and service even in times of severe persecution, suffering, mistreatment, poverty and hard labor. He understood that each of the painful experiences is a pearl or jam stone on his crown the Lord is making for him. If you are faithful in serving the Lord, you shouldn’t ask if you will suffer, what you should ask is how you can stand tall and unmoving in suffering. While most people pursue luxury and comfort, good news like this often time go un reported.

3)    Relinquishing glory or recognition:  (6:8-9) One of the subtle temptations faced by many Christians servants is the desire for glory or recognition. After he had done so much for the Lord and His churches, Paul declared that it didn’t matter to him if there is glory or dishonor, good report or bad report, known or unknown. If we know we are serving the Lord, we are called to be faithful, not famous. Worldly applause or recognition is never important. In a world that craves personal glory and recognition, news like this worth reporting.

4)    Live on heavenly treasures: (6:10) Another subtle temptation many good and faithful servants face is the temptation of love of worldly treasures. Way too many otherwise faithful servants fall from grace because of love of worldly treasures. Recognizing the need of survival in material support, many men and women God has called gave up their rights on the pursuit of worldly treasures and the luxuries come from them when they made the commitment to serve the Lord. Paul said that he was willing to give up worldly treasures to become poor in the world so that many more may become rich in the grace of God. In this “money is everything” world, news like this deserves reporting.

 

CONCLUSION:

1)     Setting a higher standard: While many journalists and some so called public figures love to pursue stories of bad news or trouble, Christians need to set a higher standard in reporting, or at least rejoicing, stories of good deed, courage, self sacrifice and faithfulness. We need to pay more attention to the bright side of people around us and express heart-felt admiration and respect to those who quietly give to the Lord and His church.

2)     Stop spreading bad news: The temptation of spreading bad news, true or rumors is part of human defect. Spreading or gossiping bad news can never benefit anyone. It can hurt both the object of bad news and the busybody who gossips without knowing the truth. It hurts our character and Christian testimony if we do.

3)     The Good News that must be reported: That is the grace of God in saving people through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The gospel is the best news to the whole world. God has prepared a way for man to get back with Him, to forgive our sins and to receive us into His Kingdom for eternity. Christians need to report this great news each and everyday to all people whom God has placed in our circle of life.