CHRISTIAN COMMENT Avoiding overload

DO you get news overload?

You want to know what’s going on in the world – but the more you try to absorb, the less registers.

The reports that do get through are the ones that touch us.

“If it bleeds it leads”: stories of violence and fear are still the most likely to feature as headline news.

Close second come announcements to do with the financial state of this country.

No surprise: fear is the common element.

So what did you make of Ken Clarke’s announcement – things are going to get a lot worse in the economy (and in the way we live) before they get better?

What he actually said was: “If someone says it’s not as bad as all that, I say (they) just don’t realise the calamitous position we’re in.”

What would you do?

Tell people the truth and maybe make them scared?

Or risk being labelled a blind optimist?

Probably most of us feel that it’s all too much.

We try not to think about it and leave decisions to someone else.

Understandable – but dangerous. Bad stuff does happen.

Some time ago there was a “bleeds/leads” report about a tower on a public building that collapsed, killing 18 people.

Far from being described as “innocent victims”, local opinion at the time favoured the view that they must have been worse than other people – you know, to deserve that.

Jesus of Nazareth, who was around at the time, said that was nonsense.

“They were no worse and no better than anyone else.

“Bad things can happen to anyone.

“The real question is what was their relationship with God?” was his comment when asked.

I don’t know what’s going to happen in the economy.

Nor do I know what new disasters may hit somewhere in the world this week.

I don’t even know how to live the sort of life that might get me out of harm’s way (that’s because there is no such thing).

But what Jesus does guarantee is freedom from fear – a huge promise but thousands of people (about four to five thousand in this town) have found it true.

So if you are troubled about the way things are going, find someone who trusts Jesus Christ (a local church should help!).

Tell them the truth about how you feel. And about what they feel.

Listen to what they say. Ask questions.

Sooner or later you’ll make a decision yourself – one way or another.

Nigel O’Dwyer leads Goring New Life Baptist Church as well as co-ordinating work across the churches in Worthing.