Why We Must Increase Our Media Discernment Right Now
By Tess Farrand, Associate Content Editor
We must increase our media discernment right now as mainstream outlets, social media platforms, and well-meaning friends and colleagues circulate links about current events.
Even President Donald Trump recently tweeted, “FAKE NEWS,” in all caps to call out the lack of authentic reporting surrounding the recent death of George Floyd and other pandemic news.
Trump’s words are a reminder that the news we see on our TV and our phones merit discernment to know what messages the media is attempting to communicate.
Though these tips were initially given for consuming entertainment media, they apply to many viral videos and articles we see trending today. Movieguide® founder Dr. Ted Baehr states that viewers should be mindful of three key things:
(1) the medium of entertainment they are consuming;
(2) their cognitive abilities; and,
(3) the values of both the medium they are consuming and biblical values.
As Christians, we need to exercise discernment to vet through the scads of articles and content we see each day.
But, what should we do if we’re unsure about one? The book of James offers great insight.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” – James 1:5 (NIV)
This is where prayer comes into play.
If we’re unsure as to what news is trustworthy, we can come to the Lord in prayer just as the book of James states.
In light of the tough news these days, it’s encouraging to know that prayer can guide us with discernment but is also plays a role in the fight for justice.
Most media outlets aren’t covering prayer, but there are outbursts of prayer happening.
“Protesters gathered outside of the Coral Gables station house in Miami-Dade County on Saturday. Instead of escalating the situation, police and protesters came together, taking a knee to join in a moment of peace and prayer,” Fox News reported.
Left-leaning outlet CNN even covered a story where, in Queens, New York, a pastor called for police officers to kneel and in response many did.
“The NYPD’s 103rd Precinct is near where the march was held in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens, so police knew about it in advance and were there. A pastor invited the officers to come into the circle of protesters to kneel with them, which was greeted with cheers from the crowd,” CNN reported.
This is a valuable time to train your mind to listen to the voice of God in a noisy world.
Take comfort in the fact that God wants to know your struggles, and He wants to bring clarity. We do not serve a God of confusion.
“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.”
– 1 Corinthians 14:33 (KJV)
For more discernment-oriented resources, check out our “Parenting” section.
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