MISUNDERSTANDINGI have been thinking about misunderstandings.

Last week, I was sending an email on my iPad using the voice interface. When I said “synod assembly” the voice program wrote “some disassembly.” I had a good laugh and then repeated “synod assembly.” The voice interface typed “sense assembly,” which also made me laugh. The third time, it typed “scented assembly.” Now I wasn’t so amused. After two more “scented assembly’s” I gave up and manually keyed in “synod assembly.” Being misunderstood is quite annoying.

We human beings are prone to misunderstanding one another. We all have our own lenses of experience and knowledge through which we filter what other people say and do. After a person has told us something, we often come to a conclusion about what that person REALLY meant based almost solely on our own lenses. It is rare for any of us to have the patience and willingness to remove our lenses and to listen with an open mind to what another person is saying. (That’s what a good counselor can do, though: listen with an open mind and few preconceived notions so that they can hear another person clearly.)

Further complicating communication is that the person speaking ALSO has his or her own set of lenses and experiences and knowledge through which they are filtering whatever they are saying.

Add to the mix that some people are not as articulate as they might wish and they may struggle to find the right words…and misunderstanding becomes a tour de force in many of our lives.

This is to say nothing of the newer communication methods of emailing, texting, Facebook and other social media where one is reduced to written words on a screen as a means of communicating complex and often personal information. I can certainly attest to being misunderstood and misunderstanding others far more often when using e-communication than I ever have experienced in face-to-face or voice communication.

Therefore, aren’t we fortunate that we have a God who completely understands us. At least it feels fortunate when we WANT God to understand us. However, an understanding God also comprehends our flaws, shortcomings, deceits, and secrets—even the ones we keep from ourselves. God understands us fully and despite that—and because of that—God still loves us. God still forgives us and blesses us and calls us beloved children. Being fully understood is indeed a fortunate thing.

May we learn to listen and understand one another as God does and may we learn to love one another as God loves us.


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