Why We Are Attracted to Bad News

Posted by on February 10, 2014

“Once, there were 3 kittens named Murry, Furry and Wurry…”

I’ll admit to fabricating Murry and Furry, but you and I both know that Wurry is often pampered and protected like a cherished pet. We talk about our Wurry and cuddle it. We share our Wurry with others, hoping they will choose to love our Wurry as we do.

If you try to help a person eliminate their Wurry, they will rise ferociously to its defense.

People who have all chosen to love the same Wurry form organizations and political parties, bound together by a shared anxiety.

Would you like to have anxiety? It can be yours if you want it. All you have to do is craft a pessimistic interpretation of ambiguous events and voilà, anxiety is yours.

Jesus makes a strong argument against worry in the 6th chapter of Matthew, then finishes his thoughts with these words: “Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

That’s a well-known Bible verse, but if you actually choose not to worry, most people will consider you to be foolish and naive.

We are programmed from birth to give our attention to the snarling tiger on our left instead of the beautiful butterfly on our right. When face-to-face with imminent danger, fear gives us focus and clarity. It is a biological imperative that keeps us alive. This is why we give bad news the highest priority.

But that doesn’t mean fear is always good.

When was the last time you encountered a tiger?

In the absence of snarling tigers, modern man has chosen to focus his need to fear beyond this moment, beyond his circumstances, beyond objective reality.

Our fear about the future is called Worry.

I do not love it.

What would it feel like if we quit borrowing trouble from tomorrow?

It sounds reckless, doesn’t it, not to worry about possibilities that might never happen? Would that mean the end of planning? Perhaps it would. But it would also trigger an explosion of improvisation.

I seem to recall a writer who said that most plans are just inaccurate predictions anyway. I think he makes a good point.

Am I seriously suggesting that we eliminate worry from our lives? No, it was Jesus who suggested that. I’m merely contemplating the implications of such a decision and walking you down a path of possibilities.

Interesting scenery, don’t you think?

Roy H. Williams

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