Above all else, guard your heart,Proverbs 4:23
for everything you do flows from it.
Sometimes, watching this world through the windows of various media, news outlets, magazine pages etcetera, digital, video, audio, print and more, I try to remind myself that I am not so much an observer of actual life as a consumer of information. I try to remember that it is my responsibility, just like a consumer of anything, to check the information for reliability, validity, sources, false advertising, unsubstantiated claims, misrepresentation, expiration dates, and a whole host of other potential pitfalls.
Additionally, and I believe this factor is under-appreciated, it helps to understand the particular lens I am looking through – before I even engage with information. Rose-colored glasses? A wide angle lens? Narrowly focused goggles? A microscope? Perspectives that make me short-sighted, far-sighted, or myopic?
My personal approach is to try to maintain an open mind. I learned early on in life that people who believed they already knew the answers tend to remain largely ignorant, and I didn’t want that.
Then, travel quickly opened my eyes to a world where people thought, spoke, acted, lived, and believed so differently that it was ludicrous to imagine they needed to become just like me!
I met Italians, and Greeks, and Turks, and Israelis, and Americans, and so many more who loved their country from the bottom of their hearts – was my identity as an Englishman more worthy or more true than the patriotism they felt?
I met Catholics, and Pentecostals, and Methodists, and Presbyterians, and Lutherans (and then Jews, and Muslims, and Hindus, and Buddhists) who loved God with such authentic passion – was my belief system as a Baptist a bedrock of truth against which all else must be measured?
So I have discovered we can choose the lens through which we view the world, and we can make a conscious decision to be learners with – a term I coined in one of my books – an openspirited orientation.
Of course I remain too often prejudiced, and overly judgmental, and unreasonably sure of my own narrow views, and intolerant to boot; and I admit that I own one heck of a lot of confirmation bias when it comes to sorting through the unmanageable volume of news, and “news”, and facts, and “facts”….
But – and this is key – I am aware of my tendency to only look through my progressive lenses (you see what I did there?!!).
So my word today is to pay attention, and to be a responsible consumer of information. And, as the writer of this Proverb put it, “above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Amen – DEREK