I have a friend who, almost every day, gets hold of one of the tabloids (eg. “The Sun”, etc.) and leaves it by his desk. Well, often enough, I find myself strolling by his desk, and glancing down at the tabloid — even opening it up and reading it.
Now you may have found yourself doing this yourself, reading a tabloid now and then, or, perhaps, even regularly. Well, the problem I have with tabloids, and to a lesser extent your ‘run of the mill’ newspapers, is that they tend to accentuate, or exhalt, or lift up, the negative to such a degree, that it leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth (that is, literally, your mind and heart) afterwards.
On any typical day, you might read a story about a baby being killed, a man being murdered, a house being burned down, and whatnot, in one of the tabloids. The tabloids tend to ‘focus’ on these things — not just mention them. There is this sense by which, “these are the items that are worthy of being read, these are the things you should focus on”. The question is, is this true?
In the Bible, we read Paul’s (and God’s) advice to us on these things: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
Have you noticed, when you read a story about a baby being killed, or murdered, in one of these tabloids, that the thought will come to your mind, “What if that happened to MY child?” Or, if you read about a house burning down, the thought will come to your mind, “What if that happened to MY house?” Or, if you read about a man or woman being killed, the thought will come to your mind, “What if that happened to ME or someone I loved?”
What then is happening? Satan is using the things that you are focusing on to implant doubts and fears into your mind. The tabloids, then, are “anti-faith” because of this; they go against faith.
Is it possible to mention things like this at all, and still promote faith? Well, in the Spirit of the Lord, I believe that it is! However, not in the way that the tabloids do it. The tabloids seem to ‘exploit’ man’s fears in order to sell their product. This is not the way of faith, but the way of fear. Contrast this with the Bible message, which may mention certain “bad events” but always provides us with a means of handling our difficulties. This, my friends, the tabloids do not do!
The next time you pick up a tabloid — or any newspaper or secular magazine for that matter — be on your guard. Satan is standing ready to ‘bait’ you in an attempt to get you to focus on the negative, rather than the positive! God’s word is clear on this point, and bears repeating, along with the greater context within which this passage appears.
“Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” (Philippians 4:6-9)