If you were to sum up the year 2015 and describe the year 2016, you would only have to use one word: newsworthy.

There is no doubt that the past year and a half has been filled with news. Between the legalization of gay marriage, Black Lives Matter, Planned Parenthood, the South Carolina shooting, Caitlyn Jenner, ISIS, the Paris bombings, the San Bernadino shooting, the Brussels bombings, transgender bathrooms, and the 2016 presidential election, amongst other things, the United States has not been short of anything to talk about. This news is juicy. This news is iconic, and in some cases, historical. This news is “good” news. We talk about this stuff on our television shows, our news outlets, our magazines and books, and most prominently, our social media.

In 2016, you can’t get on your Facebook and not see someone’s opinion on something. Whether its religious or political, people have an opinion about it. We live in a time where having an opinion is not enough- you have an opinion, and that gives you the right to post about it.

As a Christian woman, I have an opinion on most things. I am concerned about the world that we live in and I am concerned about who will lead our country come November. I am concerned about my religious freedom of myself and others. I am concerned about having children and raising them in a corrupt world such as this one. But defending my beliefs on Facebook has done nothing to ease my concerns. Frankly, airing my concerns on Facebook has done nothing but make me mad and solidify my concerns. Let me give you an example:

A conservative blog sometimes pops up on my news feed. I don’t follow this particular blog, but people I am friends with follow it. The article that had been liked was about the dangers of feminism and the “liberal agenda.” But instead of attacking the issues, they were attacking the woman who was delivering the news. They talked about her body and how “disgusting” she looked and how it made the author “throw up in his mouth.”

I got fired up, totally insulted that in 2016 we are still ridiculing women on the way they look. So, I did the dreaded thing…I commented on the Facebook post, defended the woman and urged them to attack something other than the way she looked.

Only hours after I made my comment, my notifications were blowing up. I was being called fat, ugly, a bigot, a “feminazi,” ridiculous, biased, and one-sided. I had a man respond to me saying “oh boo hoo. Which one of your chins did I insult?” (I literally cannot make this stuff up). I was embarrassed, insulted, hurt, and most importantly, I was furious. How dare these people attack my stance! How dare these people call me “one-sided” for doing exactly what they were already doing! I was just standing up for my beliefs!

Standing up for my beliefs was what I thought I was doing. In reality, I was just talking about news. I was just spreading the worldly news that already flooded my Facebook every day. I claimed that I was standing up for my beliefs, but where do my beliefs come from? My faith. Did I mention my faith in that Facebook comment? Not even once.

God calls us to spread the Good News. Not news. I urge and challenge you to make sure that you are carrying out that calling. Is the article, or meme, or picture that you are posting promoting the Good News of Jesus Christ? Or is it a worldly agenda?

The Good News is when we trust God’s grace to save us through the work of Jesus, our sins are forgiven, we get a purpose for living, and we are promised a home in Heaven. 

In Luke 4:43, the scripture says, “but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the Kingdom of God to the other towns as well, for I was sent for this purpose.”

In Mark 16:15, the scripture says, “and he said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.”

Finally, Isaiah 61:1 states, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives,  and to open the prison to those who are bound.”

These scriptures, among many others, make it clear what we are supposed to be spreading, and I don’t think it has anything to do with our opinions on transgender bathrooms, gun control, or Donald Trump.

Don’t find your identity in your political beliefs, find your identity in Jesus Christ.

Haylee Lewis

I recently graduated from Harding University and am now back living in Kansas City, Missouri. I work as a museum educator- I give tours to kids and let them touch 100 year old stuff...it is the coolest job ever! When I am not at a museum or in a classroom, I am probably day-dreaming about owning my own bakery, cheering on my Kansas City Royals (World Series Champs!!), or playing cards with my hilarious family. I am a firm believer in the Good News, good people, and good food. If you want to see more pictures of me, my man, and my basset hound, follow me on Instagram: @caribouleww.