Is it true that the moment you drove that gray crossover off the lot there was a national run on gray crossovers?
No. But there’s no denying that you are seeing them everywhere, and you’d never even noticed them before. What’s up with that?
Awareness and Connection
No reference means there’s no connection which boils down to no awareness.
Once you became the proud owner of that new vehicle you automatically became aware, and your mind expanded to make room for this new item of interest. Now, any information connected to this new item - of which you are now aware - gets a pass to the front of the would-you-look-at-that line in your brain.
This phenomenon has been dubbed “selective selectivity”. It’s a study exploring our mind’s limitations to see only what is already believed, find only what we are looking for, and recognize only what we are already familiar with.
It’s both fascinating and frightening. And - like so many things - we find God’s warning concerning this in His Word. We learn in Genesis that humanity was forever changed in an attempt to be like God, knowing good and evil. Do you realize humans already knew good?
We read something very hard for our minds to grasp in Matthew 19:17. Jesus is responding to the way a man had addressed him. “Why do you call me good? There is only one who is good and that is God…” Adam already knew good because he had walked with God! What the story of the garden tells us is that humans wanted to change the rules and in changing the rules we could then change roles. The new rules took effect immediately and we became godlike in our minds and the game - to keep the scales tipped in favor of good over evil - became the basis of our spiritual pursuits and judgments.
Selective selectivity doesn’t get suspended when we pick up a Bible. And this is a problem. It means we simply find reinforcements for what is already believed, see only what we are already familiar with and are focused on. And what is it that we are focused on? Usually it’s ourselves, our problems, our wants, our ways of thinking, our preferences, and our prejudices. I know. It’s not a pretty reality.
I don’t think I’d be too far off in saying most people read the Bible in an effort to gain an understanding about God, His laws, ways, demands and expectations. It might be viewed as a how-to manual for properly identifying and punishing wrongdoers. Other folks might read it like a treasure map or a mystery sprinkled with clues pointing to the ultimate end of humanity. Or sometimes we read in an effort to tip the scales in favor of our idea of good; like little windows into heaven’s ways, earth’s future and God’s heart. Maybe there’s something to that, but James, Jesus’ brother, likened the Word of God to a mirror, not a window.
What does that have to do with selective selectivity? Well, because we are now hardwired to believe we are like God, we think He is like us. And, because we actually think we know what it is to be God, when we pick up the Bible our study is with a limited bias. (Because gods must know everything, well really good ones do anyway.) I hear it all the time. “If I was God…” News flash! You’re not! “God’s fed up with…” Ah, no. You’re the one who’s fed up, not Him. “God’s judging such and such sin.” Wrong again. Sin has already been judged.
When you approach the Bible as a mirror, rather than a window, you’ll begin to recognize yourself in all you faulty humanity. It’s a bummer. I know. But when I began doing this, something transformational happened. I surrendered my “I am god” card and embraced Him as God. It became much easier to say, “I don’t know”. And it became so much easier to see how great the Father’s love is for imperfect people and how far reaching His plan.
The next time you pick up the Bible, become aware of its reflective qualities. Recognize the fact that what you’re seeing on those pages is humanity in its various stages of imperfection, and make the connection between God’s unwavering commitment to loving you back into His arms.