Friday, January 1, 2016

The Art of Communication

Yes, but......  One of our favorite phrases when we disagree with something said.  What I am personally guilty of in these situations, generally speaking, is not paying attention to what is behind the words being spoken.  Because of this, I have already taken the words and twisted them to what I believe or what I want to believe, is being said.  I take them out of the context of the speakers life and place them into the context of my own and they become distorted, because they don't fit with my life.  I haven't lived their life nor they mine, so we disagree, partially because we simply don't understand from where the other person is coming.
God, on the other hand, has witnessed our lives past, present and even future and therefore knows exactly what we are going through.  Not only that but, because he created us in the first place, He knows our heart and how we are going to react in any given circumstance.  If anyone truly understands us, it is He.  For instance, when the words, "I hate you," are spewed forth from one of His children's mouths, He hears the heart say, "I hate the way you are treating me right now."  We being human, however, simply hear the "I hate YOU," and become defensive rather than communicating what our true intentions were, which could bring peace to a strained situation.  Our fear is that what we say will be misinterpreted and make things even more volatile.  So, instead, we tend to say what we think the other person would want to hear or we become defensive and turn the tables, so to speak, bringing up things from the past that they have done that hurt us and a raging battle ensues. We have lost the art of communication.
The funny thing is, we have actually dissected and removed a portion of the meaning of the word "communication."  It comes from the Latin word communicare which means to share.  We have changed it simply to "the imparting or exchanging of information or news." (Merriam Webster)  So, what's the difference?  Sharing means that both are partakers of the information.  We instead tend to simply put information out there never bothering to check and make sure it was received properly so that it can be truly shared.  For instance, if  I bake some cookies, set them on the table and say, "I baked some cookies for my class," I have communicated according to our definition today, but I have not truly shared.  I have only stated what I deemed necessary.  If I truly want to share, I will make sure the message was received properly.  First I will ask if I was heard.  Then I will emphasize that I made them for my class, not anyone who happens to see, smell and desire one.  If there are extras, I need to convey how many extras there are that can be eaten, possibly even set that number aside for the one(s) with which I am sharing.  I use this example, because it comes from my personal life.  More times than I can count I have made cookies, candy, cupcakes, etc. for my kids in Sunday school and, because I did not truly share but only gave the information of what I'd done, one or more would be eaten.  When I confronted the person(s) involved, they would always say that I never said they couldn't have one.  You would think that after one time of this happening I would learn to actually communicate, (and that they would learn to understand me) but no.  We are all human, and we humans tend to need to learn things over and over again before we truly understand.  Now when I bake for my class I either bake extra on purpose, or if there aren't enough ingredients to do so,  I state the fact and say that "if" there are any left over, others can have them after class.
God is in the business of true communication.  He doesn't just dump words on us, He works in our lives to make sure we understand.  He gives us mentors to help us, His Word to guide us and Himself to turn to when we simply don't get what's happening.  He truly shares.  Our problem is that sometimes we don't like what He is sharing and so try to manipulate His Word to mean what we want it to or think He is trying to get across according to our personal life.  If we don't want to give up a particular sin, we simply blame it on Him.  "You created me this way," is one of our favorites. 
There is a warning about this in II Timothy 4:3-4.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths. (NKJV)
It is one thing to refuse to fully communicate properly with another human being, but to do so with God is downright dangerous.  He does everything there is to do to get us to really share, which means listening, hearing, asking questions, waiting for answers, sharing personal thoughts and truly desiring  to understand. Just talking doesn't do much good and can, in fact, make matters worse.  May our hearts learn to desire true communication with Father God first and then we will be able to do so with each other.