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Responding to Bad News

by Adam Faughn

Last weekend,  (December 10th) storms ripped apart huge swaths of our part of the country. The town of Mayfield, Kentucky–that has been the center of attention–is only about 25 miles from our house, but many communities were impacted in terrible ways.

In the aftermath of those storms, our elders decided to change our order of worship this past Sunday (December 12th). We spent more time in specific prayer for the victims of the storms, for first responders and others working to help people, and for the Lord’s people as we seek to help going forward.

Because of this emphasis, I changed my sermon. On Saturday, I spent some time thinking of something that was (hopefully) appropriate for the situation. But I also thought I would share the main points of the lesson here.

The idea behind the sermon was that we are supposed to be “gospel”–good news–people, so how do we respond when bad news comes? Whether it is international, local, or personal, what are some Biblical things to keep in mind when bad news comes our way?

Here are the seven things I shared:

  1. Reaffirm That God is in Control. Of course, He is always in control, but we need to reaffirm it in our thinking in times of tragedy and we also need to talk to and act toward others in a way that displays that affirmation. (Read Matthew 5:45)
  2. Recognize That Tragedy is Part of This World. Due to sin, our world is filled with struggles. Some of them are of our own making, while some are simply because we live in this world. (Read Luke 13:1-5)
  3. Realize Opportunities to Do Good. We do not wish for tragedies, but when they come, they open countless doors to serve, help, and teach. We must, however, always be certain we do these things to God’s glory–not our own! (Read Matthew 5:16 and Galatians 6:10)
  4. Refocus Your Prayer Life. Tragedies and bad news should cause us to make certain our prayers are not filled with generic platitudes, but with specific requests that come from hearts of supplication and gratitude (Read Philippians 4:6-7)
  5. Reach Out For Help Yourself. Even if the tragedy did not “hit” you directly, it is okay to admit that you might be struggling from it. We all get confused, down, and discouraged by bad news that may not even be our own, and seeking help is one way that allows others to serve. (Read Proverbs 15:22)
  6. Remember That This World is Not Your Home. Again, we do not long for tragedy, but bad news should cause us to long even more for heaven. There will not be even a hint of bad news there! (Read Revelation 21:1-4)
  7. Rededicate Your Spiritual Focus. Bad news reminds us that we still have an opportunity to make certain God is our main focus and that we are following His will. It also reminds us we may not have those opportunities for long. (Read James 4:14)

Certainly, there are other things to consider. But if you are facing bad news or trying to help someone else who is, maybe these seven are an encouragement to you.

Adam Faughn. Preaches at the Central Church of Christ in Paducah, KY




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I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:13