The problem is all this division is from the devil. Seriously though, it is. I remember reading that God is love, and that perfect love drives out fear. There are something like 8 million verses that say “don’t be afraid” (It’s not quite that much, but you get the idea). As Christians we know who is in charge, we know that every kingdom is under the authority of the God mountains bow down to, and we know the end of the story, and it’s a pretty good one.
Whenever we open up our brains to hours of TV that tells us “this person is your enemy and you should fear him or her” the appropriate response is to say “nah,” and go do something else. The truth is we Christians only have one enemy, and we’re not even supposed to fear that enemy.
Cable News Wants You on a Side
My favorite line in the Lord of the Rings movies is an obscure Treebeard line (if you’re not an LOTR fan, Treebeard is a giant talking tree … which might justify your decision to never watch the movies). Treebeard has lived for generations, and has seen empires come and go. When asked which side of the current war he’s on, Treebeard responds “Side? I am on nobody’s side, because nobody is on my side.”
I feel 99.9 percent positive that if we could ask God which political side he’s on, he’d quote Treebeard. This is how Jesus responded throughout his life. Religious rulers, and zealots, and politicians were always trying to get Jesus to pick a team, and Jesus always refused (Jesus responding to the woman caught in the act of adultery is a master class of this). It’s fine to have political convictions, but it’s not fine to be so caught up in those convictions you start believing that one political party is “us” and the other is “them.”
But cable news has turned current events into a sporting event, where you pick which side you’re rooting for, feel happy when they’re winning, and angry when they’re not. The classic cable format is to set up a polarizing issue as dramatically as possible, then bring in two diametrically opposed hotheads to scream how wrong they are at each other. Hopefully I don’t have to explain why that mentality is antithetical to Christ’s kingdom.
Let God Shape Your Thinking, Not a Cable News Channel
Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to live in a conservative area of Texas and a liberal section of California. In both areas, I felt a pastoral burden to remind people that their political parties didn’t define them and that if they couldn’t be in fellowship with a member of “the political enemy” that was sin. Unfortunately I only see this rift getting worse, and I genuinely do believe an oversaturation of news, specifically cable news, plays a huge part in that.
I was brought up in evangelicalism to believe that founding our lives on the God’s word is tantamount, and if I’m putting the world’s garbage in I can expect to see garbage fruit in my life. Maybe it’s time we hold our news consumption to that same standard.