Bob and I were watching a really interesting TV show on the top 100 popular books. Now, how they came up with that short list, I don’t know, and it ranged from John Bunyan’s Pilgrim Progress to modern day novels that have influenced people in, well, other ways.
One of the neat things about this program is that it’s interactive, meaning you go online and cast your vote for your favorite book (among the short list, naturally), and you can vote once a day until the show’s finale. Which means you can stuff the ballot box, I suppose.
During the show, different people were interviewed on their Number One choice, and I was impressed how this divergent sampling of human effort has influenced individuals, and in some cases, greatly.
Like me. One of John Bunyan’s other books, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, was my door to deliverance in a very real way. But that’s another story, and anyway, I doubt that’s on the list.
The point is that words, or communication of any sort, are powerful. That includes not only what we put out but just as importantly, what we take in. In Proverbs chapter 15, information transfer of some sort is mentioned at least fourteen times! And they didn’t even have social media yet! Here’s an example of output:
“The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing,
but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness.”
Most of us have probably been party to both—my hand is raised. What we perhaps don’t emphasize enough is the personal responsibility of intake:
“Plans go wrong for lack of advice;
many advisers bring success.”
What I choose to listen to (or read) is actually just as important as what I choose to say (or write, as it were.) We all know the damage done by slurs on social media. But do we realize that the damage is done not only because those things are put out there, but because they are read? In other words, the reader is just as culpable as the writer. Always.
I know that I can be quite impacted by stories, mental images both from descriptive writing and the silver screen. It’s the way we are wired, since the word (lower case “w”) is powerful, being created so by God Himself. Therefore, what I choose to listen to is also powerful decision.
Sometimes earplugs are a good investment.
Proverbs 15: 2,22 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.