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FIRST-PERSON: Media-induced outrage

PHOENIX (BP) — If you’re a news junkie like me, you probably find at least one story a day that is so outrageous it makes your blood boil — for a second or two — until you read the next outrageous story that makes you forget your initial outrage.

Creating outrage is a good business model for most news outlets since it increases sales, page visits, likes and tweets.

But it’s not necessarily good for our souls. If we’re not careful, we can become an emotional outrage collector. Over time this can eat away at our spiritual well-being and give us a jaded worldview. It is far more beneficial to search the Scriptures than meditate on mayhem.

Here are a few coping mechanisms that help me empty the emotional trash bin of media-induced negativity:

— Meditate on God’s Word to get an eternal perspective. We have the means to replace outrage with inner peace. Remember what Jesus said: The world is filled with trouble and trials, but He has overcome the world. Because of His victory, we can experience peace (John 16:33).

— Understand that yesterday’s outrage will fade into tomorrow’s brewing indignation. Can you even remember the headline or news story that got you so upset two days ago or even yesterday?

Of course, for those directly affected by tragedy and injustice, painful memories do not fade from one day to the next, and healing comes slowly, if at all. One person’s vague and distant headline can be an ever-present anguish for someone else. This harsh reality should ignite our prayers.

But for the vast majority of us who consume the daily media outrage on our smartphones while drinking coffee, a chronic low-grade indignation results in a certain numb detachment.

To test my theory of our ever-decreasing outrage tolerance I looked at recent front page headlines from USA Today. Here is a brief sampling of some stories from recent weeks:

Europe Facing Biggest Migrant Crisis Since WW2
Chilling – Fourth Cop Slain in 9 Days
2,000 Year-Old Temple Razed
Cold Blooded Murders on Live TV
Prison for Subway’s Jared
Kentucky Clerk Jailed, Gays to Get Licenses
Obama Secures Iran Nuke Agreement

I could go on and on cataloging the daily outrage. My point? You’ve probably forgotten these outrages and only now recall them because of being reminded.

— Use the daily outrage as a platform for prayer. Allow the Holy Spirit to turn your indignation into intercession. Pray for the families of the brutalized, the innocent victims of the catastrophic and the salvation of the outrage perpetrators.

It is fine — a good thing really — to be informed. But it is even better to be transformed by the renewing of our minds in the Word of God and prayer.

    About the Author

  • Ralph Tone