I have a disease.
I’ve tried to deny it for years, but there’s no denying it any longer; I have to own it now. What’s more, it seems to be getting worse as I get older, and I’m also 98% certain at this point that I’ve passed it on to all three of our kids.
What is it, you ask? It’s called selective hearing– and chances are, you may be at risk too. In fact, I think all of us are.
My selective hearing causes me, among other things to…
- Hear some information and instructions and completely miss others, particularly when I’m in a hurry or distracted by something else in my environment (such as the day recently when I left an unopened gallon of ice cream in my car…for hours…on a 90+ degree day, despite clear instructions from Kerri to remove it!)
- “Mis-hear” and misunderstand important information and instructions
- Take action based on such half-truths, misunderstandings, and most dangerously of all, assumptions
- Chronically employ the phrases “You never said that” or “I never heard that” as excuses for such action (hint- this is not ever a fruitful strategy!)
Can you relate? I imagine many of you can. Naturally, this cycle causes some problems, and while it can occasionally lead to some laughs, it’s often not very funny at all, but instead incredibly frustrating. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of someone else’s selective hearing, you know this!
In any case, I’m trying to work on it by slowing down, being more attentive, and asking lots of questions to ensure that my hearing becomes more complete and correct– because that’s the goal, right? It is, after all, the only way to lay the right foundation for right action. Now, as for teaching a 6, 5, and almost 4 year old to do the same, well…let’s just say that’s a work very much in progress- but we’re not giving up!
To be honest, selective hearing is, at some point, a problem for almost all us, not only in our relationships with each other, but also (and even more seriously) in our relationship with God. Many of us, often because of our family and church background (as well as our own deceptive hearts), have only “heard” part of what God has to say to us in His Word. Typically, we “hear” the things we like- usually things that affirm what we already believe to be true, or want to do anyway- and “mis-hear” or tune out altogether the things that make us uncomfortable, or demand much of us. In some cases, the misunderstanding isn’t necessarily purposeful- but it is no less powerful, and potentially harmful!
This Sunday, and over the next five weeks, we launch into a new series called So You’ve Heard. As we walk through it, we’re diving into Jesus’ “fresh takes on familiar words”- a whole series of teachings in which He brings a corrective to our deep and widespread “selective hearing” on what it truly means to relate to Him and honor Him with our lives. It is our goal to replace any half-truths, misunderstandings, or assumptions we have embraced with the whole truth about life in and with Him- and to allow that complete and correct understanding to lead us to walk out our faith more faithfully and effectively.
As a matter of preview and preparation, I highly encourage you to dive into Matthew 5:17-48 on your own between now and Sunday. Notice the repeated phrase from Jesus- “You have heard it said…but I say to you”– as it is applied to so many different areas of our lives, including anger, sexuality, marriage, honesty, and how we are to respond to those who are downright difficult to love and serve. In all this, hear clearly what Jesus is ultimately after- hearts that love Him deeply and are surrendered to Him completely. Such are the hearts and lives of those who truly know Him and are following Him- and Jesus doesn’t want you to settle for anything less!
I won’t pretend to know where you are on your journey with Jesus right now. I don’t know what you’ve heard before, or how you’ve understood what you’ve heard, or how you’ve responded to what you’ve heard. Maybe you think you’ve heard it all, or maybe you know you haven’t heard much at all. Maybe right now, you aren’t the least bit interested in hearing, or maybe you’re incredibly hungry to hear more. Whatever the case, here’s my hope and prayer for you- That you will allow the Word of God to overcome your “selective hearing” and pierce your heart in a fresh way, leading to an inside-out, upside-down transformation of your life that displays the magnificent glory of God for all to see. Will you allow God to do that work in you today? This week? And beyond? Join us this Sunday at 9:00/10:45am at either of our locations as we go after that together- and as always, don’t come alone!