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The Word on the Week

World Ends!

The phone hacking of celebrities mobile phones brought an end to the tabloid paper, News of the World, this week. What had been suspected for some time was uncovered by the police investigating the disappearance of a young girl. At the murder trial it was discovered that she appeared to have used her phone after she had been killed misleading the investigation and giving false hope to the victim’s parents. The hunger for the scoop drove journalists to tap the phones of those mourning the death of their loved ones in the Afghanistan war. The potential threat of massive compensation awards to celebrities whose private lives had been exposed in the past by the paper is a colossal problem. But it was the cancellation of advertising contracts by large corporations who no longer wished to risk being associated with the sleaze that made the paper’s termination a good option for its owners. There has been a media chorus of condemnation of such journalistic methods which sounds a bit like the pot calling the kettle black! The attraction of 2.6 million readers without their usual Sunday paper must seem like a windfall unless Murdoch launches a Sunday version of his Sun to regain this market. No doubt in this battle the real victim will continue to be journalistic ethics. What has the Bible to say to all this? The fact is that reporting people’s bad behaviour sells newspapers! Reading of how others have fallen introduces gossip by the back door as the reader is drawn into the mire of others broken lives. It may be that the News of the World had reached new depths to dredge for information but its readership was not buying it for its moral principles! We are culpable. The Bible says we don’t need a lecture on morals but a power to overcome temptation. This does not come naturally but comes when the temptation is brought to the cross and the tempted receives the forgiveness and deliverance from a gracious God.  St Paul wrote about this in his second letter to the church at Corinth, “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” (Chapter 5 verse 19) The work of the Holy Spirit in the repentant sinner’s heart displaces the love for sleaze by a stronger affection – the love for the Saviour. This starts when, in faith, we take our temptations to the Lord in prayer.