January 6, 2021
There’s a story about one cynical and cunning member of Parliament who, when asked by a new and younger colleague “what time it was," seized the opportunity to gain another voting ally by putting his arm around the young man and saying, “What time would you like it to be?” That’s rather brazen, right?
If someone were to ask you what time you would like it to be, I suspect that your discernment radar would be sounding alarms. After all, you cannot change the time. For anyone to suggest that you can, means that they are telling you what you want to hear, because they want something from you.
Many of you get your information from your phone or another electronic device that is sourced by the web. Others of you get your information from one or more networks. Remember what is going on. It is like this. I have a rewards card for Kroger and CVS. In exchange for lower prices, they keep track of everything that I purchase and then give me coupons designed around my shopping habits that are designed to get me back into their stores to buy more. There is nothing coincidental or random about the coupons. They use algorithms to determine what I use and when I will need it again.
The same thing happens with your life online. Every news article, every information search, every survey, every product purchase, every app, and just about every click, helps create your profile. Remember all of those “I agree” buttons you click? Algorithms find what you like and then they feed you articles that are designed to tell you what you want to hear. Of course, they want something from you. They want to keep you connected so that you will increase their hits so they can sell advertisements for more money. But here is what happens. When you only hear information that already supports what you want to believe, you really do not learn much. There is a lot of information out there, and not all of it is true. There are plenty of people willing to tell you what you want to hear, but not because they care one iota about you. A similar approach is taken by the networks. CNN and MSNBC know who their audience tends to be, as does FOX and Newsmax, and that is reflected in the angles they present.
This Sunday, I am beginning a new series that is going to take us through the books of Jude, 2 Peter, and 2 & 3 John. (I decided on Monday to tackle Jude first before we go through 2 Peter.) I am so grateful that I can address you straight from God’s Word. God is not trying to sell you something. God is not click-baiting you. God is not using algorithms to keep feeding you stuff that you want to hear because he has ulterior and sinister motives. In fact, when you read through Jude, 2 Peter, and 2 & 3 John, you will read a lot of things that are sobering and frankly, not easy to hear. God is the source of his Word. Our mission is to accept it as such and respond to it. When we do, our souls will not be agitated, but nourished. Our outlook will not be stoked by fear, but sobered by truth. Our hope will not be at the mercy of Washington D.C. or Wall Street, but will mercifully be kept by the One who is rich in mercy.
"May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.” (Jude 2)