Oh Lord, Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
I saw a tech support meme today about dumping your cookies. In this particular meme, a lady was walking towards a trash can with a plate of cookies. I can relate. Misunderstanding technical issues can create scenarios that you just don’t understand. Just like the lady in this meme she misunderstood the directions. Misunderstanding and/or misinterpreting a situation can cause us to move in the wrong direction. The confounding part is that we aren’t even aware that we are doing the wrong thing or moving in the wrong direction because we misunderstood.
Misunderstandings can happen easily. Someone sends a text. There are no voice inflections, you can’t see their facial expressions or hear their tone of voice. Was that sarcasm? Was it anger? Maybe it was laughter? Confusion can be the results. Are you misunderstanding or misinterpreting the conversation?
Misunderstandings during conversations, in person or via any of the popular modes of electronic expressions, can happen with no intent of malice or maliciousness ever being considered. Someone took it wrong, we said it wrong or the entire picture was not painted well with the words that we chose to use. Intent and what we actually said can be completely different from what someone else hears or reads.
Misinterpreting can happen with a misunderstood nuance such as a head tilt, a gesture, a tone or lack of tone, a comma or a lack of punctuation. We all know that misunderstandings can happen. Especially when we are already confused, disillusioned, disheartened or during a disagreement. A co-worker makes an allegation. From your point of view, it was totally harmless, but they were insulted or felt maligned. Who heard what wrong or who said what wrong or both? It can be confounding.
What is the solution? Clarify. Clarify. Clarify. Clarify when necessary and apologize when its needed. Take the high road. Maybe what we said wasn’t what they heard or thought they heard, but that doesn’t necessarily negate their hurt feelings. Be the bigger person and show more mercy than required. Take responsibility for the words and clarify your position. What if you’re on the receiving end of the hurt? Clarify, clarify, clarify. Did you mean to say…? What I heard you say was…what did you mean by that? I am confused… was that sarcasm or …? We can’t assume because … well, we all know why. Just don’t assume.
Show more mercy than received. Show more grace than deserved. Bring peace with you into every situation. Clarify with truth and most of all show love. Display the love of Jesus, especially to those who are in conflict with us or around us. Be a better person than you were yesterday, by applying more grace, mercy, peace, truth and love to every situation.
2 John 1:3 MSG
“Let grace, mercy, and peace be with us in truth and love from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, Son of the Father!”