By Ella Corey
These are the top three headlines in the Editor’s Choice section of CNN. “Four wounded, one dead,” “ISIS terror threat,” “patients in agony,” are a sample of the stories you’ll read on global Breaking News Twitter feeds. It’s not a secret that the media has a tendency of portraying the world as a dark, frightening and dangerous place.
The magazine Psychology Today studied the effects of negativity in the news, and concluded that those who paid attention to negative media were significantly more anxious and sad than those who paid attention to news stories that were emotionally neutral. The truth is, exposing ourselves to upsetting situations going on in the world does in fact make us more upset. And what good does this do? The media has become increasingly more negative over the past several decades. In a competitive market, emotionally relevant news draws more viewers, so why not broadcast it?
I’m not denying that there are horrible things that happen on this earth, and I completely believe that we should be aware of what goes on in the world we live in. At the same time, we should not forget the many positive things that are happening as well. I can’t help but think that the media skews that ratio a little, exaggerating the bad and downplaying the good. God created the earth to be good and perfect, and, while sin has corrupted it, I do believe that there is a lot of good left in His creation. And we are called as Christians to restore the goodness, truth and beauty as He intended it to be.
I follow CNN on twitter. The posts are extremely unsettling, and sometimes I don’t read the articles because I know they’ll bring down my mood that day. Though I feel the need to keep up with it to stay plugged in, I’ve started following a new twitter to balance the negative with positive. It’s called World Gratitude Map (@GratitudeMap). This site is fully committed to positive news. People submit articles or stories of great things that are going on all over the world. It is inspiring and truly brightens my day by focusing on the good.
Recently Biola University led a chapel specifically by global students. One student from Africa spoke about her life growing up. She was articulate, educated, and spoke several languages. She addressed how we often associate Africa with disease, war, poverty, and how we see it as a continent that needs to be fixed. While much of this is true of Africa, it is does not define Africa. These few, unfortunate problems are nothing compared to their growing economy and increasing spread of Christianity.
So much negativity confronts us when, in reality, we have so much more to be grateful for. It’s important to not let that negativity overtake us, to remember the redemption we have through Christ, and to be grateful for this incredible gift. In 2 Corinthians 1:10-11 we are reminded that “He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.” Because of this we are able to remember all we have to be grateful for.