It amazes me that people can read identical words or hear the exact same message and yet have complete different interpretations. They may not even hear the same words that are being said.
This became a reality to me when the “Laurel or Yanny” craze hit social media. A single word was spoken and the internet exploded. Some people heard the word “Yanny” while others heard the word “Laurel”. According to a couple different web sites, the confusion involved frequency. If a person hears higher frequencies they are sure the word is “Yanny” and vice versa.
Jay Aubrey Jones, who recorded the word for Vocabulary.com stated that he was actually saying the word, Laurel. The word, Yanny, is not even in Vocabulary.com. Before the audio scenario debate there was the color of the dress debate in 2015. Some people said they saw a black and blue dress while others saw it as white and gold. (By the way: the dress color is black and blue.)
I realized that individuals can be extremely positive that they know the truth but somehow be very mistaken. From the moment a word is spoken it can become twisted or tainted. By the time it hits the ear of the listener it can become something completely different from what was said. It is like the game “telephone” that we played as children. A phrase is whispered into the first child’s ear and that child whispers it into the next child’s ear. By the time the phrase reaches the last child, it usually isn’t even close to what was said in the beginning.
The words Jesus spoke were often misrepresented or misunderstood. He often spoke in parables or stories to help explain salvation, the kingdom of God or other dynamic truths. In Mark 4:9 he says, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” (NIV) That statement is heard several times in the book of Revelation, as well.
In Matthew 13:13b Jesus states” Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.” (NIV)
That is a scary thought.
The truth that can lead people to salvation, to freedom and to an eternity with their creator was not being heard. It wasn’t because it wasn’t being spoken. Jesus stood among the people of his day and yet they could not hear the truth or see it. It is the same thing today.
Jesus continues speaking in verse 14a:
“In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.” (NIV)
(I wondered how it could be possible that they could see with their own eyes and hear with their own ears, yet not perceive the truth. Jesus answered that question in the following verse.)
15a: “For this people’s heart has become CALLOUSED: they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.” (NIV)
Calloused skin is skin that has become hardened and thick. So a calloused heart is someone whose heart has become hardened and thick. They have put up a wall over and over so that truth can no longer penetrate. They have become insensitive. People with calloused hearts have refused to listen to truth so many times that one day they do not even recognize truth. Their hearts have become so hard they cannot hear it nor see it.
That is why Proverbs 4:23 states, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” (NLT)
Jesus is very clear that listening to his voice will allow us to follow in his footsteps for our lives. He will direct each of us if we choose to listen to his guidance. He states in John 10:27, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (NIV)
You might ask how I am sure that I am following truth and not being deceived. Deception is deceptive. I have confidence because I ask my Lord to keep me in truth and reveal any area of deception. And he is faithful.
My prayer is found in Psalm 25:5 “Guide me in your truth, and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” (NIV)
If you desire to hear His voice it is never too late to call out to God for truth. He will be sure to answer! God is full of mercy and grace and wants to fill you with his hope.
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:27 (NIV)
My hope is that you and I will hear our Lord say ” But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.”
Matthew 13:16 (NIV)
Just for fun:
If you have not had the chance to listen to the Yanny vs Laurel debate open the link below and find out what you hear. Then decide what color the dress looks like to you.