I always laugh at movie characters like Kronk in Disney's "The Emperor's New Groove" where he's got an angel sitting on one shoulder and then Poof! there's a devil on the other - and somehow he's got to make the right decision or the fate of the whole movie is at stake!
It's not a new theme. Since time immemorial, people have been faced with a choice between good or evil, positive or negative, selfishness or selflessness... Maybe that's what makes the story of the three voices in the Garden of Eden so fascinating (... the serpent, the woman and God.) We've probably all grappled with the Choice of Voice i.e. which voice should we listen to...
There are other voices of course.
I can still hear my own voice from when I made my wedding vows nearly 26 years ago. Due to the wonders of not-so-modern technology, I played the cassette tape through a few times, and it's deeply embedded in my mind.
I can still hear the TV jingle, "Boy Oh Boy, a Lincoln Toy," though I really can't remember what they were advertising. Childhood was more than a few years ago, you understand...
I can hear the voices of colleagues and bosses, and family and in-laws, and teachers and friends. When you send me a text, or comment on Facebook, I can hear you as plain as day, though I have to admit I may not always hear your tone of voice correctly...
Sometimes I can still hear the words spoken years ago which were extremely critical or nasty, though the intensity has dulled with time, and with forgiveness... I remember a course facilitator once said we should "Let bygones be bygones," but it doesn't really have the same power... Only forgiveness can silence the offences.
Then there have been the times when I'm in a spot of bother, and I've heard a word or a phrase. It sounds like it's from the Bible, but I couldn't tell you the context, what book it's in or even who said it. Sometimes it's just a scripture reference - but in each case, I've recognised the Voice.
On one occasion, I was in contract negotiations with an employer (not my current employer), and the phrase, "Having done all, to stand," came into my mind. It was back in the days before the Internet, so I had to go to my Strong's Concordance to even find it. Surprise, surprise, the verse came just after a passage about employer-employee relationships.
And no, I'm not suggesting my employer was the devil, or that he represented any of the other characters in the passage. What I am saying is that I heard God say that I should stand my ground. So I did, and not only did my employer change the clause in my contract but also in all my colleagues'! I won my case and I won his respect.
However, let me add this wee proviso: Just because God speaks one thing one day, it doesn't mean you can make a rule of it - after all, different paints need different thinners...
On a later occasion, I was praying and reading the Bible, and it was as if He drew through some of the words with a highlighter. I was having an issue with a manager (not my current manager), and I read Ecclesiastes 10:4 "If the spirit of the ruler rises against you, do not leave your post; For conciliation pacifies great offences."
The message was pretty clear: Don't quit when the boss is getting in your face, for giving him his respect due will cause you to find favour. Or, as I noted in the margin, giving due respect is like pouring oil on the troubled waters of past grievances or errors.
So I obeyed my manager's instruction, much to my own discomfort. After a couple of weeks, I then presented him with a record of the outcomes of his instruction, respectfully suggested a change, and he agreed. I won my case and I won his respect.
Over the years, I've heard the Voice of encouragement, direction, and at times, even correction. The words I love to hear the most are, "I love you... "I'm proud of you... "I forgive you... and "I accept you..."
Despite all the circumstances, those are the words that keep bringing me back.