The question of what is the importance of what we hear is addressed in a radio broadcast that we put together. Here is a transcript of the broadcast.
The Importance of What We Hear
Moderator- Good afternoon and welcome to this broadcast. We are going to approach a very important subject today. That subject is what we hear and the effect it has upon us.
Our guest is Dr. Ford, the founder of Jonsquill Ministries. Jonsquill Ministries produces counseling materials for Christian Counseling. He has been some time studying that subject of the effect of what we hear upon our lives, and I think he will have some things to say that will be of interest. Isn't that true Dr. Ford?
I believe that is so Brother Boling, and to begin with I want to point you out as an example of my first point. I want to congratulate you, and the people who invited you, on the opportunity you had to speak at Floyd College. I know that you appreciated the opportunity to share what the Lord has done in your life.
For those of you who do not know it, Brother Boling must deal with the very serious problem of dyslexia. This is why he sounds different in his speech than most people you listen to on the radio. A program such as ours deals with a great deal of material in a very short period of time, so we have to know pretty much what we are going to say before we walk into the studio. We are what is called scripted. For a person with C.W. Boling's condition, working off a script is one of the hardest things in the world to do. He spends hours working on his presentation to make it as good as he possibly can. He has used tools that allow him to listen to words to help him in this undertaking.
Reading is often a problem for Brother C.W. but he perseveres because he believes this is what the Lord has called him to do. I want to hold him up as an example to Christians who are always saying they cannot do something for the Lord. There is a lot of difference between cannot and will not, and the Lord knows the difference. Many believers have actually convinced themselves they cannot when the truth is they will not. And quite often the reason they believe they cannot is because they have been talking to themselves in negatives.
If you communicate to yourselves in negatives you will be unable to accomplish positive things. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Lord of the positive. The Scripture testifies He gives us beauty for ashes, but sometimes people get so busy crawling around in the ashes they do not see the beauty He has prepared, and they miss the fact He is able to enable those He has called to serve Him.
Moderator- Thank you. The Lord opens the door and I try to walk through it. But the subject today is not me but the issue hearing has upon our lives.
Response- Yes, that is true. But you use hearing as a positive tool to help yourself to overcome a difficulty and that should be pointed out. Most people do not listen to the things that are important and they listen too much to things that are not, and some of these things are downright harmful.
Moderator - Why are listening to bad things harmful?
Response - You have two kinds of categories where listening to bad things prove harmful that I want to speak of right now. The first I have already talked on. The first is the things you tell yourself and the second is the things you expose yourself to. The first thing I have mentioned actually flows out of the second in many cases. If we expose ourselves to negatives then after awhile we speak to ourselves in negatives.
- For instance if you hang around people who tell you that you are ugly all the time, pretty soon you will be telling yourself you are ugly.
- Another example is the difficulty we have in getting things done in the churches. You can tell people what needs to be done in ministry and what has to be done to accomplish the goal. They might make a beginning and yet fail. Guess who they blame? Not themselves!
They will blame the person who got them started on the project, even though they would not do the things that he said was necessary to get the job done. They tell themselves they cannot do for one reason or another what is necessary to accomplish the goal, so of course, they cannot (or will not). Then the whole project winds up either a failure or lacking in the success it should have had. Why? Because they have been talking in negatives and probably do not even realize it.
Moderator - What you are saying sounds an awful lot like "the power of positive thinking" to me. I know you have spoken against that. What is the difference?
The Power of Positive Thinking concept has a whole lot in common with the Name It - Claim It theology which is also false. I am not interested in the idea of "I can accomplish anything I set my mind to" or the "if I want it and claim it God has to provide it" kind of thinking. I am interested in the kind of thinking that says "the fact that what God calls us to do, He also enables."
Let me give you an example of biblical thinking in the matter of people telling you that you are ugly. Should somebody say that to me I only need to remind myself that I am made in the image of God, that's how the Bible says God made man, in His own image. If God made me in His image I cannot possibly be ugly even if I do not meet a fallen world's standard of beauty. Now if I meet someone who is always telling me I am ugly, I am going to get away from that person because I know they are a person who is not only without discernment, but also a person who is mean spirited. Both of these kinds of people are to be avoided.
Then there is the issue of God's promises. The Word of God teaches that the believer can do all things through God who strengthens him. I take that as a promise from God. Now God does not strengthen me to do something that is ungodly or not in accordance with His will, but if it is in His will for me to do something, then He strengthens me to do it. He is not going to call me to do something without enabling me to do it. We have His word for that in Scripture too.
So you see what I am talking about is not positive thinking, but biblical thinking. Christians should think biblically. I wrote a booklet on the Practice of Renewing Your Mind based on the biblical principles found in Philippians chapter four. I considered it so important that I could not sell it. It can be downloaded freely from the Jonsquill Ministries website. I want to encourage everyone who uses the Internet to visit Jonsquill Ministries on the web, just type in the name J-O-N-S-Q-U-I-L-L Ministries and download the booklet. If you are not on the Internet come to the Tallapoosa East Baptist Church office and pick up a copy.
Moderator - Okay, I understand that you have two categories of hearing.
1. what you tell yourself and
2. what you expose yourself to
I also understand we are supposed to think biblically.
But I think there is more to the bad things we expose ourselves to than just what people say to us.
Yes, you are right. There are a whole lot of bad messages being sent out in the world at random. They seek to destroy whoever they might ensnare.
Take for instance what occurs in music. People are subject to being influenced by music whether the music is good or bad. There has even been a term invented to describe music that gets stuck in your head and you cannot get it out. The term for a piece of music you cannot get away from is called an "earworm." An earworm can get stuck in your head for days, weeks, months, and sometimes even years. You find yourself humming or singing the song over and over again. Some music that gets stuck in the mind can almost drive a person crazy. In fact it has driven some people crazy.
The term earworm was coined by James Kellaris a professor at the University of Cincinnati. (He is by the way a graduate of the University of Georgia.) He has been doing research on earworms for three years now. Since he began his research he has heard from people around the world. This is a universal problem common to mankind everywhere. In fact 98% of all people suffer from earworms at some time or other. What he has discovered is that people who are constantly exposed to music suffer earworms more than other people. This reminds me of the children's song that warns "be careful little ears what you hear." The good news is "there is a Father up above who is looking down in love," He has provided us alternatives to the music of the world and the messages of the world for us to listen to.
The music industry has denied the potential for harmful influence in music over and over but long before Dr Kellaris began doing his research we had developed empirical scientific evidence that this was the case. Out of the Columbine killings it was revealed that Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris had listened for long periods of time to violent music. Some sources say Marilyn Manson was the prime source of their inspiration. Much of the information gets clouded by a concerted attempt to confuse the facts about Columbine. So it is hard to say which people they were listening to with certainty. We should learn something from Columbine, especially when we discover that other killers have also told after the fact that they had installed earworms into their minds by listening to certain songs over and over. Something is going on that represents the darker side of just having a tune in your mind you cannot get rid of.
Moderator - You made quite a leap from having some song in your mind that you cannot get rid of to people listening to violent music then going out and committing murder. Don't you think there had to be something wrong with them to begin with?
Response - The people who are involving themselves in this research say that people who are neurotic seem to suffer more. But even Dr. Kellaris calls songs that stick in your mind "demon tunes." I remember that Satan himself was supposed to be a musical angel according to Scripture. I find it highly unlikely he would not use those abilities in his fallen state as well.
Actually most of the music that sticks in peoples minds seems fairly innocuous. The top ten list of music that sticks in people's minds include such jingles as the Kit Kat candy bar jingle "Give Me A Break…" and the Chili's Baby Back Ribs jingle. But more aggressive music like "Who Let the Dogs Out?" and "We Will Rock You" are on the list too. The interesting thing about the top ten list of earworms that effect people is that the number one song cannot be nailed down. If varies with the person being interviewed so no actual number one earworm song has been identified. There are songs that promote shooting and violence, and I have no doubt these are the number one songs in the minds of many people out in the world.
This brings me to a point I want to make about earworms and that is things identified as earworms should not be confined to just music. Earworms are invading people's thinking from every direction. I was talking with a friend about the subject of earworms. He related to me the story about how a preacher friend of his had visited a man who had not been in church lately. The man invited him to stay for supper, and while they were waiting for the meal, it came time for Gunsmoke on the television. The man told the pastor that no matter what, he watched Gunsmoke on the television every night. So, the pastor watched Gunsmoke with him. That night when the pastor got down to pray he was hindered by the words from the Gunsmoke episode that kept running through his brain. He had been invaded by what he heard, an earworm that was not music.
For us, the problem is not just music. It is everything that we hear.
Moderator - You are not saying that pastor was neurotic are you?
No, not at all. He is probably more spiritually sensitive than most people to what is going on because he does not waste his time watching television and listening to foolishness the way most people do. So he recognized and received hindrances from a direction that most people with spiritually darkened minds do not discern. This brings up another point.
I have said many times that I believe women are more spiritually sensitive than are most men. Curiously earworms bother women more than they do men. But women, unlike men fight earworms coming from music. They try to get rid of offending ditties, unlike men who often allow them to run their course. I do think women are more subject to earworms that come in other forms of communication however. We have seen women get ideas stuck in their minds from reading romance novels, and listening to soap operas, beginning first with the radio era and later on as television became the main source of entertainment. They have also responded to the carefully formulated messages of the Women's Right's Movements. Since many of the women in the NOW and suchlike are also involved in the occult it does not surprise me if the Devil might not be telling them how to pipe his tune into the mind's of other women so that they will accept it. He did a pretty good job of putting ideas in Eve's head in the Garden of Eden after all.
As a counselor I have worked with people who experienced obsessive and compulsive thinking. Earworms are related to this kind of problem. That does not mean when you experience an earworm you are obsessive and compulsive. But you are experiencing things over and over in a way that is not readily controlled in a manner similar to that which afflicts some of these people. When something is haunting your mind you can identify with what they are experiencing all the time.
My own wife has a disease that effects equilibrium and impacts other areas of the mind as it afflicts the body. We are careful about what we watch, but the media has gotten to where they slip in all kinds of junk into programming where you do not expect it. If she hears a bad word on the news, or it is slipped into a program she will be harassed by the word when she dreams all night long.
The impact of this issue is so profound that when I went about the business of setting up a Christian School, I challenged every one who joined the staff to restrict themselves from certain types of movies and music that had ratings that should make us wary.
Moderator - What kinds of music and movies did you ask them not to involve themselves with?
I am not alone in taking such a position against certain movies and music. Many Christian schools including Pensacola Christian School whose college trains many Christian teachers does so as well.
I asked the teachers not to watch any movie with an 'R' rating and most movies in the 'PG13' category. I also asked them to restrict their music to Christian and Classical music. Even country and western music, which some people around this area particularly love, is not wholesome listening. Country music is often about drinking and adultery, and murder. There is an old joke about playing country and western music backwards that was based on the belief some songs have subliminal messages. If you take that kind of music and play it backwards you get everything you lost playing country music forward back. Your wife, your dog, your shotgun, and your pickup truck all come back.
People use music very often to feed the depression that allows them to do other things like get drunk or have affairs. That is why bars play that kind of music. They are selling beer and the illusion drink brings and this type of music promotes what they are trying to sell.
Moderator - I can see why you would oppose people listening to things that have messages contrary to the message the Bible contains. During the time we have left we need to talk about the positive sorts of things we ought to be listening to.
We have five senses in the human body that are commonly recognized. They are hearing, seeing, smelling, touch, and taste. Each one of these offers us opportunities to experience God's Creation and to glorify Him. And, each may be wrongly used to indulge in the pleasures of sin for a season. But as the senses of the body become dulled over time, so it is that when the pleasures of sin have run their course, all that is left is bitterness and remorse.
It is far better to do as the Bible says about speaking to ourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. (Ephesians 5: 19) This is some of the kind of talk that should be coming from ourselves and this is also the kind of talk we should expose ourselves to when we turn on the radio. The Bible talks to us about setting our minds upon things that are holy and not on things of the world. We cannot do that as long as what we are allowing ourselves to hear is contrary to the things that are pleasing in the Lord Jesus Christ's sight.
I heard a preacher express the fact that the senses will be present and sharp in eternity when he quoted the Scripture: "…Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God have prepared for them that love Him." (1Corinthians 2:9) His mistake was in saying that the same is true about the things the Devil has prepared for them that hate God. The reason I say he was mistaken was because Satan has not prepared a thing in eternity. He prepares evil for us on earth. The preparation of hell was made for him and those who rebelled with him. Of the five senses, I think the most powerful is the ear. The ear will hear the songs of heavenly choirs in eternity for those that love God or it will hear the screams in the torment of hell for those who reject Him.
While here on earth we can draw visual images concerning what we have been told about, anything we choose to listen to. Even when we read we form words that we hear in our mind. These are quite often translated into visual pictures. But we can also handle abstract concepts from what we come in contact with through the same sense of hearing. It is a powerful gift that the Lord has given us.
acknowledges the power of hearing in the verse: "So then faith cometh by
hearing and hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." (Romans 10:17)
We have lots of evidence for this from the past. People have followed dictators and false prophets to destruction because of the power what they heard from them had on their lives. And, some who have committed atrocious acts have done so after listening to evil music sung by some musician that they liked. The Evil One is presented as a musician too, and his tune has also beguiled many an ear. It is true that the ear has much power for it can effect the human soul and touch eternity.
One final note and then I will be finished for today. The Lord Jesus Christ is presented in the Scripture as the Living Word. I have already quoted the Scripture about faith coming by hearing. We have to hear the word in some form or other to believe and then we have the potential for Christ to dwell in us richly. How does that happen? By the washing of the Word. We need to bathe in the word, to hear the word through and through. Now if the Word of God is the thing that is running through our brain all the time our situation is a whole lot better than having anything else running through our brain like an old grave worm crawling through a decaying corpse. Our basic choice is what we give ourselves to hear. The outcome of what we give ourselves to hear is the impact it has on our minds.
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