Something wonderful is happening. Strangers are helping each other survive wildfires and storms. Neighbors are rising above their differences when crises strike. Meanwhile, many of our so-called leaders bicker like spoiled children and fake news confuses our sense of what’s true and false.
The “godfather of fake news,” so-called in a recent BBC on-line story, sits at his laptop and writes. “The words flow from the thoughts in his head. Unconnected to reality, he needs no research, and no notes … Publish. (He) sits back in his chair and watches the likes and shares roll in.”
Later in the article, the BBC contributor, Anisa Subedar, quotes another writer, this one living in Macedonia. “The Americans loved our stories and we make money from them,” one faker told the BBC. “Who cares if they are true or false?”
Who cares? That’s a powerful question. Who cares, not just about truth and lies but about caring? Caring for each other, what we say about each other, and how we treat each other. Many millions of us do, in fact most of us do, but that doesn’t make the news.
We’re heading into the Christmas season. For Christians, this is a time to celebrate the birth and message of Jesus Christ. For others, it’s a festive family time. What if all of us, regardless of our faith, could fulfil the promise of what’s called “the second coming” in a unique way, by personally exemplifying Christ-like qualities of character? After all, He did his part, what about us?
He said, “Love your enemies.” That’s pretty clear. What if we actually did just that… and more? Imagine reading, watching, or listening to the fake news that bombards us every day and turning it into real peace. We witness someone ridiculing, shaming, and belittling another? Our response? Appreciation. Here’s the magic to this: appreciation increases value.
Adults who stoop to adolescent insult hurling are diminishing others to inflate themselves, so they must feel personally undervalued. What if we found a way to appreciate them? Of course, that can be a daunting challenge. It takes a very clever detective of human nature to find something, anything, to appreciate about professional mud slingers. Well, are we up to that challenge? Or do we fling back in return?
Jesus Christ was called the Prince of Peace. A prince is defined on-line as “a royal ruler of a small state, subject to a king.” What if that describes every one of us, in potential at least? After all, each of us has our own “small state,” populated by family, friends, neighbors, and strangers, plus the world as it comes to us via media. But here’s the intriguing question for an aspiring prince or princess: who (or what) are we subject to?
Fake news can subject us into constant complaint. But what if we ruled our small state with appreciation and compassion, making sure that everyone felt truly valued?
This is also the season when many of us make New Year’s Resolutions. We might decide to hit the gym twice a week and lose 15 pounds or finally clean out the garage, but those promises often don’t last more than a few weeks. Why? Because we lack lasting motivation. So, is there a better option, some technique that might keep us on track a bit longer?
Here’s one: feel the reward in advance. Imagine your immediate environment filled with love and gratitude. We all know the experience of being appreciated. Well, it feels just as wonderful to others as it does to us. That feeling can become our compass, guiding us to make new choices that become new habits. Like, becoming a professional peace bringer!
So, this holiday season, as we enjoy our faith and family, what if we resolved, not just to change our behavior but to change our mindset? What if we chose to seize every moment as an opportunity to bring peace with our words and actions, even our thoughts?
The heroes we most admire are those who encounter big obstacles but persevere through them. Imagine being able to look in the mirror and honestly say: “That’s me!”