I’m not overly connected to the news. I mostly dabble in keeping up with current events, so if I find themes in those sporadic moments of catching up on the latest stories, I take note.

Most recently, I’ve noticed the theme of people with big names being exposed for their dark secrets: politicians, radio show hosts, news anchors, producers and I’m sure more that I haven’t read about, yet. They are all household names, and many I have given an ear to more than once. Now, like a ripple effect, many are being exposed for extremely inappropriate behaviors.

All these exposures have caused me to stop and think back on who I allow to give input in my life. Who am I giving an ear to? Is what I’m hearing shaping my beliefs? Have I put any hope into what these people have said in the past? Luckily, with most of these celebrities, I take what they say with a grain of salt. But it made me look even deeper into those people or things I do put my hope in and the influence I let them have over me.

Every day there are hundreds of things that influence me: friends, family, social media, articles, advertisements, co-workers and my surroundings. But do you know who the biggest culprit is? Me. I am starting to realize that I have way too much influence in my own life, and I’ve put a lot of my hope and trust into my own abilities and decisions I’ve made. And to be honest, I don’t think I’m the best influence on myself and certainly not someone I should bet my future on.

Sound ridiculous? Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not necessarily perfect, and it turns out I don’t always make the right decisions. I’ve let people down, I’ve hurt feelings, I’ve lied, I can be selfish, and so many other things that I won’t put in this column. And yet, I somehow allow myself to give a lot of input into my life. But, if not me, who?

In Matthew 12:21, we are told that “His name [Jesus] will be the hope of all the world” (NLT). Now there’s a household name that has stood the test of time. He healed the sick, took care of those in need, fed the hungry and never once took part in any of the behaviors we are finding out about in these current news stories. Not even any of the behaviors I listed about myself. And then He took it a step further and He laid down His life for my sins and the sins of those people in the news.

I can tell you, I was pretty shocked to come to the realization that the person who is speaking too much into my life was me. And even more shocked to conclude that I’m not that trustworthy.

Thankfully, I’ve got hope, along with the rest of the world. Jesus is the hope of the world, and we never have to worry about Him failing us or lying to us or breaking our hearts. We never have to think that there was some hidden secret that will be exposed someday. Two-thousand years of skeptics and theologians would have exposed them by now.

This Christmas I’ve been given a freshly-renewed hope in our blameless savior who I can have absolute trust in who He is and what He has done for us. There’s a lot of people with big names out there, but Jesus’ is one that is worth allowing to be an influence on our lives.

“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6, NLT). That’s a name I can trust!


Ryan Koltiska is the executive director of Sheridan KidsLife.