commentary: A Cure for News Depression
Something Is Needed to Counterbalance the Bad
John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 02-May-09; 13 minutes
I believe it was just about a year ago that I began doing these commentaries virtually every Sabbath. I've missed a few here and there, but pretty much it's been a weekly thing. These commentaries have almost invariably been drawn from news that is current during the past week or so. I have been doing it partly to keep us aware, not so much of the events themselves, but rather to help us make better use of understanding the immorality that is contained within them. In addition to this, I want us to be better able to have a clear perspective of these events, especially as to where they appear to be headed in terms of the their impact on our daily lives.
In an overall sense, I see our government is doing things that carnal governments always do—and I do mean always. What they are doing is carnally inevitable. It matters not whether the nation is China, Italy, Zimbabwe, Mexico, or the United States of America. The only difference between these nations is the rapidity with which it occurs.
It has been usually slow for me here in the United States. I believe that this is because there has been, for over two hundred thirty years now, a fairly strong belief in God and His Word. Also because I think that the American citizenry believe that they had the best Constitution any people, in all of mankind's history on earth—except for perhaps ancient Israel—ever had.
What's been happening has been slowly unfolding, actually, for now about one hundred years. But now it is happening with almost breathtaking speed. I believe that we are eye witnesses to God's prophecy that is given in I Samuel 8:10-22 being fulfilled. Americans still claim to believe in God and claim that they have some faith in God's Word, but as shown by their disobedience, their faith must be at a very low ebb, because never has immorality been so prominent in this nation as it is today.
You remember Jesus said at one point, "When the son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?" He's implying that it's going to be awfully hard to find faith. But you would think that if there is anywhere that there would be faith in God, it would surely be the United States of America.
What is it that carnal governments always—inevitably—seek? Carnal governments, because they do not believe that God overrules all nations, seek total control over people's lives because they fear losing the control they presently have. A substantial amount of the groundwork for governmental control of our lives has already been laid. Because some residual fear of God remains in the minds of the leadership in Israelitish nations, their governments desire to be in a position to control legally. To a ruler like Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, legality may not matter in the least. But here, it still does. But Americans are gradually being moved into a position in relation to government where the citizenry can be legally persecuted.
The beginning edge of that persecution is that rights that we have long enjoyed because they are guaranteed by the Constitution are being taken away. In fact, the Constitution itself is being suddenly attacked. Activist judges assume it's a "living document," and thus subject to alteration at their discretion. These judges thus circumvent Congress, and assume the responsibility of Congress, thus writing laws on the basis of their decision. This is unique in American history—what you are experiencing in the last fifteen or twenty years. This became the rage beginning with the Warren court. The sad thing is that Congress let them get away with it, thus showing their agreement.
We understand from prophecy that ultimately persecution will be aimed at any who disagree with any government policy, and most especially those who truly believe and practice God's way of life. All of this, I think, we understand. The thing that I am concerned about this point on is that this can be very depressing to us. Virtually all the news that we hear and read by means of radio, television, newspaper, magazines, and by means of the internet, is bad. I mean, it is depressing, and ominous in nature. It is energy depleting and very good at producing hopelessness.
In the world, this may produce a revolution. That's the ordinary course of events. But brethren, a Christian does not have this alternative.
There is a cure for this for us, and simply stated, is that the overwhelming amount of depressing news has to be counterbalanced with good news—positive news; with information of beauty that is edifying and hopeful.
What I am going to tell you can be very time consuming to your life, but it is time well spent. There is only one absolutely sure source of this counterbalance of good that we need, and that is God's Word. But even here, there is a potentially limiting factor: We have to believe what He says, or it does no good whatever.
I'm going to read a scripture to you that contains something that I had not noticed before, even though I use it often and the other men use it frequently as well because it's such a good scripture. We hardly ever focus on three little words there:
Romans 15:4 For whatever things were written before [everything was written before for us in the Bible, so that includes the whole book]were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
The Scriptures were written so that we do not get depressed. There has never been a generation like this, that has had bad news so easily available to us. Everywhere we turn—the dial on the radio; the dial on the television; pick up the newspaper; pick up a magazine—everything is bad. We're being overloaded with bad news. It's no wonder we get depressed. So something has to be voluntarily done to counterbalance that.
John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.
Put the emphasis on the word "I": ". . . the words that I speak to you . . ." Does it not say in John 6:50 that those who eat Jesus will never die? Everything about Him points to and supports life, and those words, brethren, our spirit. That might be maybe the most important thing to know there. The words that we receive from virtually everywhere else have a very high probability of being words and spirit of death and depression. Words of hopelessness, depression and death.
How much are you listening to radio and television? This includes music as well. You think those things do not carry spirit within them? Oh, yes, they do, and it is a spirit, in most cases, of death. Don't you think that it would help to balance what is going into the mind more evenly if we were willing to spend more time putting the good stuff in it?
One more piece of advice from the apostle Paul, and this was written to a congregation that was having problems with its attitude:
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
There is a cure that has God's guarantee for a better attitude.