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Take a Closer Look, Or Else

Ever had the experience of purchasing something only to find out “what you see” isn’t really “what you get”?  Perhaps it’s what you thought you saw.  Or heard.  You realize later that you were mistaken, didn’t read the fine print, didn’t heed the label, or that the seller/marketer didn’t shoot straight.

Ever had the experience of purchasing something only to find out “what you see” isn’t really “what you get”?  Perhaps it’s what you thought you saw.  Or heard.  You realize later that you were mistaken, didn’t read the fine print, didn’t heed the label, or that the seller/marketer didn’t shoot straight.

If it’s a product, nine times out of ten, it won’t be a critical mistake.  But, as I recently learned, packaging pitfalls can prove fatal.  Integrity and precision are critical, not only in product marketing, but in story, teaching, and writing as well.

For example, a recent change occurred in the packaging of most “store-brand” products at the place we normally shop.  I hadn’t really thought anything of it; many items are branded with the same logo, same colored packaging, etc.  Not long ago, two bottles got mixed up in the process of storage.  The lemon-scented furniture polish looks almost exactly like the butter-flavored cooking spray.  Guess which one wound up in the kitchen?

Same yellow cap.  Same colored labels.  Same size.  Almost the same dispensing mechanism.  Radically different products.

If I inadvertently picked up cooking spray when polishing furniture, I’d get an oily mess (and wonder why the coffee table smelled like butter).  A pain to clean up, yes.  But, if I were sautéing dinner for the evening and used furniture polish (read “flammable”), we’d have a whole lot more than mess.  Destruction.  Fire.  A potentially fatal mistake.

Why does it matter that we take a closer look at the messages we hear—whether from a television stage, movie set, a pulpit, or the printed word?  What we see at surface level isn’t always what we get.  To quote my teacher friend to her students: “Never turn off your brains! It's amazing how many things we believe just because we let ideas in without ever thinking about them.”  (Mull over that one…let an idea in, without thinking about it?)

My favorite quote from a graduation speech:  Your mind is like a door; it needs a screen on it to keep the bugs out.

Recent Tapestry authors have written about novels in popular culture, memoirs in Christian culture, and movies widely embraced in the U.S.  People are crying out to believe in something.  “Searching” is definitely in vogue.  But do we care about the results?  Do we really want to find what we’re searching for?  Are we discriminating in our choices?

Are we grabbing furniture polish when we need cooking spray? Just reaching out for the closest thing available, without bothering to note the label?

The tiny book of Jude guides me in my pursuit of paying attention.  Our Bible study group spent the summer studying it a few years ago, and I came away with three qualities that mark a false message or a deceived (or misguided) teacher. (I’ll let God be the judge of heart motives; I can only examine the results.)  They reject the Lord Jesus Christ, support immorality, and crave financial gain.

That’s really what it all boils down to, isn’t it?  Money. Sex. Authority. Deep longings of the heart.

My encouragement for all of us is to pay attention.  You can gamble on just getting an oily mess, but the hazard is, you just might find your house on fire.
 

Kelly Arabie

Kelly Arabie most enjoys heart-level conversation and guiding women in soul care. Her desire to study God’s Word and help women apply it to their lives led her and husband Tre to Dallas from their home in Louisiana. She earned a Master of Arts in Christian Education from Dallas Theological Seminary and served on staff as both Women’s Ministry Director for Coppell Bible Fellowship and Women’s Ministry Counselor at Insight for Living. Kelly’s experiences of shepherding by godly women have given her a deep desire to see women cared for in the Body of Christ worldwide, especially in cross-generation relationships.