Let’s have a quick show of hands. Or, since I can’t see your hands, you can just answer the question for yourself. How many messages do you receive and send on a daily basis? How many emails?
Now let me ask you another question. How many messages does the world send you- and vice versa- on a daily basis? Let me tell you- they are uncountable. Every time you power on an electronic device, pick up a book, or turn on the television, messages begin flooding into the inbox known as your mind. The world has propaganda everywhere, some of it as dangerous as that of the Third Reich in the 30s and 40s.
A few months ago I was walking through the juniors’ section in a popular department store, looking for a cute sundresses. After all, in Texas the best thing to wear is a sundress with cowboy boots, right? So in my perambulations I glanced at the graphic t-shirts- and my jaw dropped. No, it wasn’t the cut of these shirts. It was captions such as “go your own way,” “be fast or be last,” and “don’t wait” that jumped out at me.
Sure, you say, those aren’t exactly messages that you’d read in the book of Proverbs. But what’s wrong with it? The world always throws such messages at us. Of course they’re questionable, but do they really have any impact on people just strolling through the mall?
They do indeed. Look again at the first message- “go your own way”. It’s tied to relative morality, the belief that there is no such thing as truth and everyone gets to decide for themselves. Is that dangerous? Yes. Look up Pontius Pilate’s quote in John 18:38, and you’ll see that a culture (ie ancient Rome) pervaded by the “go your own way” idea is what led Pilate to allow an innocent man to be crucified.
Again, read the second caption (“fast or last”). Does it look familiar? It should. It has ties to Social Darwinism, the big lie popular in the early 1900s that says it’s okay to wipe out whole nations in the name of racial purity.
I don’t think I need to make a comment on the third shirt. And all this was in the teen girls section of a popular clothing store. What about all the messages put on television? On Facebook? In teen novels?
Okay, you answer, so what? This is what the world believes. It doesn’t have the least affect on you. I reply, maybe the world believes it, but is it what you believe? And do you want it to let it have an affect on others?
At some point you need to draw the line between what you will and will not support with what you wear, repost, and of course say. No matter what the rest of the world thinks of your decision, you must choose what is and isn’t a message you want to send. Maybe you are a Christian. Maybe you’ve never seen a Bible before. No matter who you are, you probably have some set of beliefs that govern how you live your life. You probably want your own outbox to match up with those beliefs.
Everybody has to decide what they will proclaim to the world. “Man looks upon the outward appearance,” indeed. Investigators at crime scenes can tell you is that the only things average passersby will remember about someone is the color of their hair, their height, and the shirt they were wearing. You have that much time to say something to any stranger.
Twitter-ly speaking, you have 140 characters. What will you say?