Saturday: May 30, 2020

John 21:23 Because of this, the rumor spread among the brothers that this disciple would not die. However, Jesus did not say that he would not die, but only, “If I want him to remain until I return, what is that to you?”

The reception of a message can be altered from many points, among them, the transmitter or the recipient. Thus, both the manner in which a message is delivered and the person who receives it, play a role. From a transmission point of view, I came across some sentences which could mean entirely different things by excluding one punctuation. ‘Twenty five-dollar bills’ equates to $100 while ‘twenty-five dollar bills’ amounts to $25. Or even ‘I want to thank my parents, Tiffany and God’ (2 persons) versus ‘I want to thank my parents, Tiffany, and God’ (3 persons).

So, while the transmitter can easily send the wrong message, the one receiving the words can easily take them out of context. Jesus’ words today was one of such when they were taken entirely out of context to mean something quite different from what was spoken. This is not uncommon, even in our day. Some people only take what they want out of an entire message, they highlight a couple of key words, forge their own perspective on a matter and set off. As evident in the Gospel, a rumour founded on a misinterpretation spread rather quickly.

There are a number of people who are unlikely to fact-check everything they hear and to such people, a rumour or misinterpretation could be the truth they run with. The challenge, therefore, is to receive a message within the context it is given and to extrapolate meaning only when appropriate and applicable. Let’s not ‘cook-up stories’ or misinterpret the words we receive because very often they are transmitted as they are for a reason.

If unsure, seek verification and clarify before onward transmission.


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