Heart of the Message
People are receiving counsel nearly all the time. In the era of digitized thought, the ability for broadcasted messages increases, and so does the need to filter it as true, false, or (somewhere in the middle) skeptical. Here are three types of counsel we receive, and a discussion of truth.
The counsel of a friend: Having a friend, conversing with a friend involves giving and receiving counsel. Any human to human interaction can be considered counseling.
Television: Television is a pendulum of advertising and programming, swinging back and forth every few minutes - Turning on the television is a barrage of counseling: how to interact in a relationship; how to view the world; what to buy this week; a stream-of-conscious counseling to humanity.
Facebook: Facebook's counsel is perhaps more nuanced. It is an "empty container" that calls for your content. You can "tell" Facebook your name, birthday, friends, and interests. Why? The container Facebook has provided is an opportunity for them to counsel you on things other people want to see and hear to know you. For example, notice the timeline concept: it invites events. This means you now are encouraged (counseled) to have events, especially as you see others having events occur on their timeline, and to share them. Without Facebook, without their counsel, you may take a different view.
With the barrage of counseling, especially conflicting counsel, comes suspicion. "Hmm," you wonder, "what's the motive behind this person's counsel to me?" This is the heart of the message. Indeed this is a critical question, especially when counsel leads to action, action connect to situations, and situations pass through the multiplying factor of time whereby human life is built up or torn down (even destroyed) based on them. There is perhaps much resting on the level of truth in counsel, on the heart of the message.
The heart of the message, or perhaps the heart of the messenger, is my current challenge to you. Rather than performing the surface-level judgement of a person's words, it is better to instead perform the deeper interrogation of the heart of the person exchanging the thought. This enables you to not become a lawyer, dissecting words, but instead become an imperfect human, deriving meaning from more than the surface level textual context of the exchange.
Once you've done work to hear the words, and hear the heart of another person, the next step is to determine truth. How does one know truth? How does one know true counsel from false counsel? Or, true counsel from half-true counsel? (Perhaps the most appealing lies are the ones that sound so terribly true). Can truth change? Is truth today false tomorrow? The question of truth is a controversial one, and many will debate it throughout generations.
The counsel I've received over my slight few decades has encouraged me that truth does exist, and that the most basic truths do not change. For this situation to exist, the truth I see (some of you will be very skeptical here) is outside of people, and inside of God (the "trademarked" Yahweh God of the Christian Bible). As God reveals his truth, (which can be both easy or difficult to understand for a variety of reasons), so does the human race critique his truth and determine whether or not it's worthy of application. Having a foundation of truth from a foundation-building God enables me to explore deeper into human messaging and meaning without the fear of drowning in the grey matter that is created by human opinion.
Regardless of your belief, I challenge you to think through the implications the heart of the message, and its truth, as you use your own lenses of interpretation to receive or place skepticism on the counsel present in your life. No doubt you're doing it right now, as you read this post, and will continue with each pulsing message of your heart.