Looking around or looking up?

I read the news off Google sometimes, not really on purpose, it pops up. And it’s really depressing most of the time. I’ve heard this described as looking around. In other words, focusing on the world around us and forming our opinions based off of that. My mom’s outlook on life sometimes seems just a little too unsuspicious to me, not that she’s not smart, she is. It’s really not her at all actually, it’s the time she was born in. I truly believe that, unless you really choose otherwise, the decade you were born in can shape your world view, or it’d be more accurate to say the attitudes embraced by the people who live in that decade. Let’s be honest, back in the 60’s it was a different world. With different people. The adults in my life are not naïve about life, but the bad things that happen seem to shock them. The difference is, they don’t shock me.

I actually think that’s sad on my part. What happened to this world? Murders that happen every day. When a robbery becomes a relief if no one was shot, we need a double take. I’m not intending to depress you, just to be real before I move on.

Millennials do not look at life as good. We feel no real remorse when we hear of deaths or suffering. It’s not really surprising, we’ve been fed futuristic movies and books, and news that seems to consider good things not worth reporting except every now and then just to keep us on our toes. If you’ve felt fear over your own inability to feel pity for another, then I can sympathize. Apathy is scary. And partly, it isn’t our fault.

We didn’t choose to hear about some things, sometimes people make us listen, some people seem to enjoy ruining your day by telling you the latest news, just in case you didn’t check the news that day. (Imagine not doing that!) What is our fault is supporting it. Becoming a naysayer, a pessimist, a fatalist, that is not the answer it’s becoming part of the problem. You will never convince some people to be cheerful, but you can be. Here I move to looking up. In John 16, Jesus warned about believers and unbelievers having sorrow. At the end of the chapter, vs 33 he says this: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (Emphasis mine.) it is not, according to Jesus, wrong to have cheer. A positive outlook, happiness. Other translations put courage instead of cheer. And that brings me to another good point. I know too many people who deal with the trouble of this world by sitting on their duffs in front of TVs or video games and forgetting the problems. Or Facebook. Pretty much anything electronic can be an escape. Even this blog could be if I spent all my time on it. Look folks, I know you’re scared. You have a reason to be scared. BUT, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE. You can be brave. Don’t fall for the Soap Opera lie that cowardice is okay and normal. Bravery is really a choice, but you can only make the choice if you know that fear is not your identity. Think about action movies. Think about the end of the Avengers. Is evil fully defeated? Or is it just put off for awhile? There is fear still. There’s no security. Where is the peace? Heroes are always watching their backs in modern stories. The Bible teaches that you don’t have to watch your back because God is already got it. Sometimes I ache for a godly superhero movie. Not because I think a movie that has no reference to God is bad, I don’t think that, but heroism seems unattainable nowadays. We can’t all have deadly martial arts skills or special axes or hammers or super strength. Does that mean we can’t be heroes? You know surprisingly Disney has this one figured out. Over and over again in their movies they say “It’s about the heart.” In Frozen, it’s the heart that makes the difference. In the Hunchback of Notre Dame the gypsy man asks at the end “What makes a monster and what makes a man?” The answer if you’ve seen the movie is clearly this: His heart. There’s even a Disney short called “The cat that looked at a king” in which the cat asks “What is the measure of a man?” A wise old man answers, “by his heart.” Jesus said to be of good courage. The root of courage is cor, which means heart. The Bible also says in Psalms that if you wait upon the Lord he will strengthen your heart. If you want to really shine in this dark age, you need to look up and have a strong heart. I will write more about this soon. Until then, I leave you with this, whether you’re a Christian or not, you have to admit this is cool: “For evildoers shall be cut off; but those who wait on the LORD, they shall inherit the earth…Wait on the LORD, and keep His way, and He shall exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut off you shall see it.” (Psalms 37: 9, 34)

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