I’ve been pondering the issue of impact, and it occurred to me that I ought to turn the question around and ask, “Who’s impacting me?” That question prompts today’s word-of-the-week…
We’re immersed in input. It’s a 24/7/365 world in which more voices than ever compete for our ears and eyeballs and attention. That’s not news.
With endless choices, we make a lot of decisions about who gets our attention. Some are deliberate, many are passive. Either way we’re subject to an endless stream of input that impacts us in obvious and subtle ways.
Computer programmers use an acronym—GIGO: garbage in, garbage out. It’s true for computers, and it’s certainly true for us.
Here’s Jesus’ version of GIGO:
Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Luke 6:44-45
Since the heart (kardia) is my essence, my fruit reflects what I choose to place there. Whole-hearted living (good output) requires a heart filled with love (good input).
My input, the stuff I choose to read and listen to, fills my heart with connection-building joy, forgiveness, and gratitude, or with divisive judgment and hatred.
Who’s filling my heart? How much of my input is garbage?
Discernment is more essential than ever. I need to choose intentionally and consciously the voices I allow to fill my heart.
Clear core values must guide my choices. When conflicting ideas appear, I need to know the ultimate indicators of True North. For me those are Agape, Courage, and Grace & Truth. I stand (so to speak) on those above political positions, national rhetoric, and any other allegiances.
Too many choices means I can get too narrow. One can spend the entire day reading and listening without encountering a single contrary idea. I’m not sure that’s a good thing.
A wrong idea, repeated frequently and loudly, is still a wrong idea. Lies re-labeled as truth are still lies.
I welcome opposing views, but I filter their impact through discernment based on core values.
Input is data, not information. We need to carefully choose and be aware of who’s interpreting the data. Danger lurks when we grant a single voice too much access, especially if that voice has an agenda. And ALL voices have agendas.
It’s easy to lose the value of humor. Occasionally we need to chuckle at the stuff that seems so important but really has little eternal significance. We need the perspective to take ourselves and our ideology a bit less seriously, to know what really matters and what doesn’t matter so much.
What are your inputs? Are they too narrow or too broad? Are they filling your heart with love?
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Copyright 2010 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.