The media has a power to subtly change our perception and acceptance of things. Of making you think that what is abnormal in another context or situation would not be normal. When we use the term “media” here, we are talking about social media, newspapers, television, radio, all forms, modern or old, of communication. This is not a modern phenomenon: from ancient times, when new emperors came to power, they did everything to deconstruct the past, because they wanted to send the message that they are the only ones that would bring change and development for their people.
In Matthew 13: 14-15 it is said, "You will hear with your ears and you will not understand; you will see with your eyes and you will not perceive. For the heart of this people is hardened, they have listened with ears, and have closed their eyes; that they may see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, that they may be converted and be healed by me." In this text the Bible is showing that people saw but could not see. Somehow those people lost their perception of things.
And it's no different these days. The media has a power to change our perception. Those people were so involved with the “media” of those days, with what the Pharisees and “specialists” were talking about the Messiah, that they did not realize that the Messiah Himself was before them. Our media, in a general way, will not emphasize what God is doing on earth. I am not even criticizing this: perhaps this is not even the main function of "secular" media. But we need to understand this selective filter that the media has to communicate the News, so that our perception of reality is not guided by what the media is willing to put or “sell” to us. You would hardly see the news showing a great evangelistic crusade with two million people receiving Jesus in one night. But perhaps you will see the news showing another group of five thousand people standing for another cause because the media has a partial point of view.
Recently a brazilian website brought in its headline the statement of a secular singer stating that she “did not know the 24 people she kissed in her new clip”. The singer wanted to bring to society the idea that it is normal to have several "types" of different kisses. In the text, she stated: "I think entertainment is a good gateway to get people getting used to some things." We need to have a selective perception and understand that what is presented in the media is not shown by chance. Not always what is happening on television reflects the position of the majority, but often represents a specific agenda, with specific interests, with specific funding. The media does not represent opinion, it forms opinion. If we do not have a critical perception, we may not perceive, as did those disciples, the spiritual things that are happening, and we will let go of what God wants for us in this generation.
In sociology, there is a concept called the Overton Window, it is a window of “social acceptance” regarding behaviors. It reflects what people find normal or abnormal about some subject. If a group wants to change the thinking of a population, it should not present the extremes because they will be quickly rejected. Actions from companies that promote ideas, which include "experts", celebrities and digital influencers, research institutions, think tanks, bring subtle information so that society can accept better a certain subject. For example, instead of speaking directly about abortion, the media can focus on women's rights. And within these rights is the motto "my body, my rules". From the point of view of women's rights, would not they have the right to an abortion? And society is beginning to accept that in some cases abortion may be acceptable. Then you may wonder: “if abortion is allowed in such a case, why not in this other situation?” And so, something that was initially rejected by many, becomes accepted, and if you go against it, people begin to say that you are against the “rights of women”. Opinion receives a moral status.
We also need to understand that the primary purpose of the media is to profit, the second purpose is to entertain, and the third purpose of the media is to be informative. And, as entertaining is greater than informing, often the pressure for sensationalism will be very strong in the media, and we will have an “opinion journalism”. Many things that are on television or on the internet are not facts, but interpretations of facts, with bias. We can not have a polarization that will dull us. To be a believer in Christ is not to be a stranger to what happens in the world. Not all that is politically left is anti-biblical, and not all that is right is from God. Marxism, for example, is clearly anti-Christian, but not every left is Marxist. Do not be a manipulated believer. So I suggest keeping up with the media of those we criticize and those we are most supportive of, and from there we can strike a balance from two points of view.
A clear example of this in the Bible is that of the twelve spies. In those days there was no Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or the "Israel News". The media were oral and relational, and the spies were sent to report and state whether or not it was a favorable time to conquer the land of Canaan. Ten "experts" began to say that it was not the right time, that the land had giants, that the people of Israel were like grasshoppers, and so the people began to believe that they were themselves grasshoppers. This means that we often start talking about a crisis that has not yet come, but the "experts" start saying that the crisis is coming, and what do you do? You save your money and do not buy things, and the person who sells does not profit and can not pay his suppliers, and so the crisis was generated before it even arrived, because of the manipulation of a fact. Often the media will induce you to do what she wants or not you to do.
If there is someone who is not consulted by the media, it's God. He does not work with News, God works with vision, with prophecy, declaring things that are not as if they already were. God is not so interested in how things are, He uses people to say how things are going to be. It was Moses himself who sent the spies, that means that analyzing the data, planning and hearing the news is not wrong, but just as in Moses' generation, we will have ten spies speaking what the world is saying and only two speaking what God is saying. Most of our media will not be favorable to God's things and you need to understand what God is saying to you. You are not what the newspaper says you are, you are not what social networks says you are. You are what God says you are! You have what God says you have and you can do what God says you can do. I'm not making an appeal for you to become alienated. I'm not asking you to turn off the TV. I'm telling you to understand that when you see News, there is an opinion there, a bias, and you need to have a selective filter and analyze what the Bible says about it and what God says about it.
What is occupying your thinking as a believer? You need to know the truth well in order to know what is false. There is an education agenda for your children on television and you can not let the TV or the internet be their primary educator. Have you noticed that the bad news "sells" more? Fear "sells", people feed on fear and the media knows it, and if you do not take care you will live in fear. We hear about the plan of organized crime, of a malicious government, the plan to cut of wages, but God says, "I know the plans I have for you." You can even understand the plan of those who are your supposed enemies, but why not understand the plans of the One who created you? How about to say: even if this happens in the economy, security, education, I will not fear evil, because I dwell in the hiding place of the Most High! He did not tell you to ignore what is happening, but to know also the plans He has for you. The problem of that people was to give more consideration to what the ten spies were saying than to what God was speaking. The problem for many believers is not to watch the News, but to pay more attention to these things than to the voice of God. What is the expectation that is within you? What is the perception you have? If you do not take care and pay more attention to the negative media, your heart can stiffen. The Word of God becomes “News” in your life when you believe because it happens to you!
Psalm 101: 1 says, "I will sing of goodness and righteousness; to you, O LORD, I will sing." Music is also media, watch what you are singing or listening. Do not pull songs that will lead you to the bottom of the pit. Bring songs that praise the goodness and justice of God. Beware of what you are hearing because you are influenceable. Choose well what you will see, hear or watch, choose to be influenced by the right things. The media is not “from the devil”, it is just a tool, it is up to us to make good use of it. Broadcasts, TV and social media are very used also by Christians, and have been tools for reaching people for Christ. Paul was the first to efficiently use the papyrus and pens of those days to spread the Gospel, he created a system of communication through his letters. Luther was one of the first to use the press to influence masses. Before there was any newspaper, Luther began translating the New Testament into German and distributing it throughout Germany. Billy Graham was one of the first to use television to preach the Word of God.
Still on the good use of the media, remember that you are not obliged to post on social media everything that you are feeling! You do not have to tell your emotions to everyone. What you post on social networks is forever (even after deleting). Using Philippians 4: 8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — post about such things on social media”. A phrase that you put without reflection can prevent you, forever, from reaching promises that God has for your life. Therefore examine what comes out of your mouth, for the mouth speaks of the fullness of the heart. May you be a source of life, a source that exudes truth to people, that you produce edification and growth for others. Instead of venting on social networks, pour out your worries before God, for He says: “cast your anxieties before Me, because I care for you”. God certainly will not neither mock you, nor share your frustrations with others, or even let anyone judge you. He is the best person to hear us, "publish" your afflictions on His altar.