I had been too busy recently to really look at the headlines of what is going on in this world until this morning. Now I wish I had just stayed ignorant. I can honestly say that while perusing the Drudge Report, I felt physically nauseated, full of unbridled anger and deeply concerned all at the same time. Needless to say, there are many BIG TIME things going on right now in the United States, Israel, Africa, Ukraine and many other places.
How is a Christian supposed to deal with the news of what is happening in the world? Are they to totally ignore worldly things under the guise of being spiritual ? Are they to be politically and even militarily active? Are they to sacrifice their jobs, reputation, family and even their own life to be an activist for one cause or another? Within Christianity there is a wide range of opinion regarding how to handle the world's news and how involved we are supposed to be in worldly issues.
I freely admit that during the time I actively served in the ministry (1971-1985), I didn't pay much attention to what took place in the world at times. But, I was aware that there was a war in Viet Nam because I had to sweat out what my draft lottery number would be and I knew people who were serving in that war. I knew that President Nixon was on the verge of impeachment and I actually watched him resign and fly off in a helicopter in 1974.
I was in California when President Ford was almost assassinated twice. I remember voting in the 1976 Presidential election for a third party candidate because I detested the two major party ones. I suffered through various oil shortages, embargos and the corresponding dramatic hikes in price etc. I remember vividly trying to find a gas station that was open at 10:00 p.m. in rural Mississippi in 1979. I remember only being able to get gas on even or odd days.
I recall the euphoria when Ronald Reagan was elected President and the horrifying anguish when he came within a millimeter of dying at the hand of a crazed assassin. In so many situations, it is not that I was ignorant of what was going on around me, but I was either uninterested in knowing the details or felt there was nothing I could do except pray.
I have wrestled with the question of how much information is needed to survive in this world vs. too much information and the resulting emotions that comes with it. I have vacillated between believing it is the believer's responsibility to speak the truth on worldly issues vs. the wisdom of being wise as serpents and gentle as doves.
I must admit that I watched the white Bronco with O.J. Simpson in it back in 1994; more out of curiosity than anything else. I watched the non-stop coverage of hurricanes, wars etc that the television people conveniently present during those events. I, of course, watched with rapt attention the events unfold on September 11, 2001.
I believe it is foolish for a Christian to hide their head in the sand and pretend that what happens in the world has nothing to do with them. I also believe it is foolish for a Christian to get so wrapped up in worldly causes that they forget to be especially good to the household of faith as it says in Galatians 6:10.
As in all matters dealing with our faith in practice, I believe there is a balance between being aware so as to be circumspect (Ephesians 5:15) yet not becoming consumed with the world and the darkness therein. I believe God expects us to know what is going on so as to not be taken by surprise by the enemy but not so caught up in the world's affairs that we become afraid or distracted.