We hear a flawed message. When someone tells us something, we filter it through our own experiences and understanding, as well as what we know about the person communicating. The words themselves have definitions, but meanings are conveyed by context. How is the message put together? What inflection does the speaker give? What do we know (or think we know) about the author of a written text or a visual image? What is the musical context of a song?
Sometimes, when people are close to each other, the communicator can explain more fully the reasoning and thought processes behind a given message. Thus, by more volume of words, inflection, and body language, a listener who is truly seeking to hear can come to a better understanding of the real message intended by the communicator. Most of the time, however, we hear only what we choose to hear.
Taking the time necessary for real comprehension is less of a priority than it used to be—especially today, when we are more concerned with time and things, and things that we believe need to be done. I am sure others have said this, but it remains true that listening is a skill. Development and time are necessary to perfect any skill, whether music, sports, fine arts, business… or listening. Few people are willing to take that time. We hear a flawed message because we are flawed people, yet God still chooses to use imperfect vessels to communicate to each other.
There has only been one exception in history, one person who was flawless from birth. God himself chose to come down to our level as the man Jesus Christ. …And although he spoke to us without ulterior motivations and without the overlay of negative influences and attitudes, it was His actual presence that was the real message. Jesus Christ, the man, is the physical manifestation of God’s Word! John 1:14 says “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,” but how many of us really comprehend that statement?
He is the living, breathing Voice of God in physical form. God spoke; the Spirit of God overshadowed Mary’s womb in a newly creative miracle; and, Jesus materialized in our midst in human form from outside the boundaries of time. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) God created man so that we could hang out with him. After the fall in the Garden of Eden, when we could no longer meet Him on His level, He chose to come to our level.
The ultimate message is, “I know your weaknesses and you are still worth hanging out with! I am coming to be with you to make it possible for you to come back to My level.” Listen, the Creator of the Universe wants to BE with us! His presence here, every action He performed, every word that came out of His mouth was one big giant “I love you!” —all the way through the sacrifice of His human life to the exclamation point of His resurrection.
The trouble is, we are still imperfect human beings. We have trouble comprehending that such a message can be unsullied by all the sorrows and horrors of life on this fallen earth, but He existed “before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24), so He does not possess the same mindset. He does not speak through the filters that we humans do. Perfect, unflawed Love calls us to an eternal companionship that He made possible twice—once, through our creation, and once, through the Angel of His Presence. The messenger’s message was Himself… here, present in our fallen world, in our human form so that His perfect sacrifice could pay the penalty of our fallen nature, and gift us with resurrected life.
Now, the question is, are we willing to take the time to comprehend all that was and is being said to us? Can we get past our own filters and flaws, and ugly experiences, and try to really GET the message explained through the Word, or will we continue to only hear what we want to hear? Can we hear the real Message beyond ourselves and understand what the Communicator is trying to tell us?
Jesus Christ did not bring the message. He IS the message… but are we listening?