I drive a lot. I travel all over the country by car for a whole bunch of reasons, and as a result I see a lot of things, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Recently I have noticed a lot of billboard advertising, and in particular the advertising of one of the billboard companies trying to get more advertisers to use their services.
They have a billboard that just says in bold black and white letters, “Un-See This.”
It’s really quite a good advertising ploy because once you have seen something, and if it grabs your attention like these billboards do, you can’t un-see it or forget it. If the message is powerful, either through comedy, wordplay, shock, or horror, then it does grab your attention and burn the image of the billboard into your mind.
The eyes have it
Advertisers know that appealing to your senses, and especially your eyes, they can powerfully sway your mind to their way of thinking and hopefully have you buy their product or buy into their message.
But sometimes the message is not good. Sometimes the messages on billboards, in magazines or other parts of the media are not positive messages. They still grab your attention because the advertisement is designed to do that, but the message is not something you may want to see.
Think for a moment about websites that serve up advertisements over which they have no control. You may be reading a website when all of a sudden an advertisement pops up in the sidebar that is totally inappropriate. The website owner cannot control these random advertisements, and unfortunately you cannot un-see what is served up.
A biblical warning
The Bible warns us about this problem because the eyes are the primary means by which we take in messages.
The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! (Matthew chapter 6, verses 22 and 23)
We learn through what we see. What we retain in our minds from what we see shapes our views, our opinions and our lives. What we see is unfiltered and we cannot un-see things when they flash before our eyes.
However, we can limit what we choose to see and what we choose to spend our energy seeking out.
The good, the bad and the ugly
There are many things in this world that are not good for us. There are many positions taken by people in this world that are fundamentally evil or wrong.
There are statements made in the media and there are advertising slogans that deliberately lead people astray. “Greed is good!” “Just do it!” “What’s in it for me?” “Show me the money!” Many other slogans have been promoted to try and change the attitudes of people to blindly follow the path of the advertiser or promoter.
If we choose to seek what is evil, wrong or opposed to all that is good, then as the scripture above tells us, we fill our life with darkness, and if we walk in darkness we will stumble and fall.
Often we cannot avoid seeing the evil around us simply because it is there. But we do not have to look for it and seek it out.
Everything we see, hear or learn needs to be filtered against the standard of what is good right and true, so that the bad and the ugly can be discarded and not allowed to take root in our life.
The power of advertising and the media is that it can force you to see what you do not wish to see by shoving images and words into your face at unexpected moments. Even friends and people we know can try to lead us to seek and see things that are not good.
What is most important is to reject what is evil and focus on what is good. By this we can be filled with light and reduce the darkness that comes against us.
Quality of life is built on a foundation of light, on what is good, right and true. What we seek and hold onto in our hearts and minds will determine whether our lives are full of the light of truth or buried in darkness.
You can’t un-see all the evil around you, but you can choose what to accept into your consciousness so that the darkness does not dwell in you to exercise control over your life.
Since retiring from work, John Lemmon now spends his time teaching, preaching and writing about the word of God, online and offline, answering God's call on him to “Speak to my people.” John and his wife Colleen travel all over Australia and you will often find him playing guitar or ukulele outside their caravan somewhere in the Great Outback. You can connect with John on Twitter (@JohnBLemmon) or on his website: freegiftfromgod.com/