Friday, July 5, 2024

Be Careful How You Hear

By: Lauren Thomas

In two separate gospel accounts, we have record of Jesus teaching a parable about putting a lamp under a basket, followed by instructions on hearing. In one account Jesus said be careful “what” you hear. In another, Jesus said be careful “how” you hear. Now, that’s interesting. I can understand the importance of “what” we allow ourselves to hear. But how we hear? What does that mean?


And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you.

Mark 4:24 ESV


Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.”

Luke 8:18 ESV


It got me thinking – again – about algorithms, and, about echo chambers. What we view on the internet fuels the advertisements we see on websites. What we seek out and view on social media tells that platform what to show us more of. This is an example of algorithm. We might think we have some agency over what we look at, but social media platforms curate the content readily available to us. Then, there’s the “echo chamber.” We tend to follow, friend, and like people or content similar to us. What we put out into the echo chamber of social media, often echoes back to us in the feedback of similar voices, preferences, and opinions. We invite more of what we listen to.


While Jesus wasn’t preaching about social media, we can apply his teaching to our use of social media. Be careful “what you hear” (or view) is easy enough to understand. “How you hear,” could mean the “manner in which you hear.” Are we passive about how we hear? Or are we intentional? Do we let others choose what we hear? Or do we actively choose?


“How” we hear also involves what we do with what we hear. Do we filter what we hear, discerning what is good and what is evil? Are we meditating on what we hear: the good, the gospel, the God-design for our lives? Are we practicing the instruction we have heard in Scripture? Are we proclaiming what we have heard in Scripture? Are we speaking gospel and truth in love? Are we choosing to echo and re-echo, not just in a closed chamber, but to the world at large that God is good and His plans for us are good?


Lord, give us discernment in our hearing. Give us the strength to take care how we hear. Forgive us for listening to what we should not listen to. Forgive us for not listening the way you desire us to. We give You are ears. We give You our attention. Amen.



Is it more of a challenge to monitor what you hear from the world or to act on what you hear from the Lord?

What steps can you take today toward changing the way you hear the Lord?


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