We operate as highly communicative people in all aspects of our lives and so it should be of no surprise then, that underneath the megaphone and silent body tones we find a series of wire crossings. These wires sometimes lose their coating and as a result we see a short circuiting and smoldering that needs to be fixed. Our receptors and data collectors are rarely in a neutral position that is free from filtering and prejudice particularly in reference to relationships. In the common vernacular we say that someone has ‘baggage‘ or [the *I* word of which we do not speak] and what we mean is that they bring to the table not just the current event(s) at hand, but rather a suitcase full of other past experiences and fears and understandings.
Sometimes those weekender bags multiply and we find ourselves speaking to a U-haul trailer or semi-truck. And sometimes we are that rig. To be sure, what should be simple and direct communication can easily turn into an endless unwinding and unfolding of past notions just to be able to see and hear clearly. So what are we to do when we find our signals distorted and our clarity being encrypted when we thought the message was unmistakable?
Well, the first thing is to seek humility. Remember that there are three events that happen in each communication: what you heard, what they heard, and what was really said. So the first thing to keep in mind is that you can be wrong. Being adamant about infallible hearing will only cause more heat to be generated and in and of itself creates yet another filter interfering with clear communication. Dare to admit you could be wrong.
Another good thing to do is to ask for clarification by using questions and restating what you believe you were just told. Before closing down shop and heading out to accomplish the tasks at hand, repeat to the data-bearer what it is you heard and ask if that is correct. Repeating what one heard back to the one who said it is a marvelous way to avoid returned mail. Be inquisitive. Paraphrase for clarity.
And lastly, we should guard our hearts against presuming motive. Nervousness sometimes generates fear and fear can sometimes be handled with an attitude of anger and therefore we wrongly deem someone mad when really they are more scared than anything else. We would do well in letting the Word of God judge a man’s heart and intentions and avoid assuming motive as much as we would avoid eating an e-coli omelet. Guard your heart. Love your neighbor.
“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12