Recently I read something about the power of the media to “control the minds of the masses.” As I read, the thought came to me that the media give us what we want to see. And politicians tell us what we want to hear.
We get what we want … but we don’t want what we get.
We say we want truth, but really we only want the truth that makes us feel better about ourselves, or the truth that confirms what we already think (or want to think). We don’t want the truth that tells us we’re wrong, that we’re going in a bad direction, that the Titanic is sinking. Former Vice President Al Gore recognized this in the title of his book, An Inconvenient Truth. Jack Nicholson’s character in the movie A Few Good Men nailed it when he bellowed, “You can’t handle the truth!”
Shortly after reading the statement about the media, I read my mom’s most recent blog post, in which she wrote about how she makes it a habit to look inside herself, to discover ways in which she still needs to learn and grow. Yet such introspection is hard. It’s uncomfortable. We’re not sure we can “handle the truth” about ourselves.
It’s easy to point fingers at the media, politicians, or anyone else we want. It’s easy to blame parents or teachers or society or even God for the brokenness we know we live with but don’t want to deal with.
What we need instead, though, is to stand in front of the mirror and point—to acknowledge that what is wrong in the world really is just a reflection of what is wrong with ourselves.
Maybe instead of looking at the media and seeing what we want to see, or listening to the politicians and hearing what we want to hear, we need to listen to the prophets—the prophets of old and the prophets of today—who speak God’s truth even at the risk of their own lives; who will point the finger at us and point our eyes toward God.