“That’s tragic. What’s for lunch?”

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I read something in a magazine today that reminded me of this old post from a couple of years ago. There was another school shooting yesterday. There are tragedies all around us everyday. So, I thought I should re-post this.

The other day I was standing in line at a restaurant when I heard two men ahead of me talking about a brutal murder that was in the news. The first guy was telling the second one all about it since he had not seen the news. It was a gruesome and sad tale. Unfortunately, Guy 1 told the gory details of the crime while Guy 2 and those of us around him were staring at the menu above the fast-food counter quickly losing our appetites.

As Guy 1 continued with the story, Guy 2 was disturbed at what he heard and responded as his friend shared the news with listening cues like, “That’s awful,” “Oh, my goodness,” or “What a shame.”

Finally, as Guy 1 completed his story, Guy 2 said, in the same breath, “That’s tragic. What’s for lunch?”

It took a few seconds for it to register in my brain. What an odd reply. Are we so used to bad news that it rolls off of us like water on a duck’s back? Are we so accustomed to hearing about tragedies, calamities, murders, wars, and crises that our response is, “That’s tragic. What’s for lunch?”

I’m afraid we are – and I am as guilty as anyone. How many times do I scroll through all of the bad news that I see online? How many times do I read the headlines in the newspaper and flip over to the next page with little or no concern? (Yes, I still get a newspaper.)

Our generation receives so much news so fast that genocide in Libya is just another headline and brutal murders are a dime a dozen. We’ve become numb to tragedy.

Bob Pierce, the founder of World Vision, once wrote, “Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.” We may be numb to the bad news around us but I know that these terrible things break God’s heart. I know that I can’t prevent some of these things from happening. I cannot give enough money to solve all of the world’s crises. I am not in a position of power to stop the fighting around the world. I don’t have enough time to give to all of the needs around me.

But I can do something. I can pray and I can give what I can. I can’t change the world for everyone but I can change the world for someone.

I cannot control the wave after wave after wave of bad news that comes before me each week but I can control my response to it. So I must pray on a regular basis what Bob Pierce prayed, “Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.” May I be sensitive to the needs around me. May I be prayerful as I hear of tragedy around the world. May I be generous when I can be generous. May I empathize with those who need empathy. May I be a bit of positive news in a world full of bad news.

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