I’ve heard it many times before: “The news is too depressing. I just can’t watch it.” You won’t find any argument from me on this point. Whether it’s foreign wars or police brutality in the US, drug epidemics or airborne pandemics, politicians disgracing themselves or disgracing others, the news is often packed with information that is sure to upset us. This is not the way things should go.
In many cases, it angers us. In other cases, it leaves us confused and feeling helpless. It’s just awful. And so we look away. We turn off the TV. We choose to focus on the things that bring us happiness rather than the things that depress us.
Which makes sense. Until you realize that so many people don’t have the luxury of looking away.
When we’re dealing with issues like racial inequality and oppression, as we are now in this country, turning off the TV doesn’t make things better or cause the issue to disappear. While we who are outside of the situation can pretend that it doesn’t exist, the people suffering from it will continue to suffer from it. They cannot turn off the TV or walk away, because it is happening to them.
In this week’s reflection, I want to recommend that we who have the luxury to turn away not exercise it. As upsetting as it is to watch, I think we owe it to others not only to watch, but to let the anger of the situation consume us.
As long as we have the ability to hide from it—as long as the issues of the world remain distant and are easily avoided—we will never become invested enough to want things to change. As long as it is someone else’s problem, we’re going to let it continue to happen.
That needs to stop. The body of Christ is suffering all around us. Let yourself suffer with it.