It’s Important to Ask Questions Outside Your Internal Perspective Box
Asking questions is the best way to get a clear understanding. Too often we assume things and don’t take time to ask questions. Questions are the only way to get past misunderstandings.
Have you ever felt misunderstood?
This is a question Norm Williams a Readers Digest contributor had when he was searching the library for two books by communications expert Deborah Tannen. It turned into an Abbott and Costello comedy routine.
“What’s the first book?” the librarian asked.
“That’s Not What I Meant,” I said.
“Well, what did you mean?”
“That’s the title of the book,” I explained.
“Okay,” she said, looking at me a little skeptically. “And the other book?”
“You Just Don’t Understand.”
I got both books. Eventually.
When it comes to clear communication, even the experts can have trouble. Don’t give up! Hang in there. Work through it. Communication is key to a healthy relationship. And remember in the process, it is more important to understand than to be understood.
“A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion” (Proverbs 18:2).
Clarity doesn’t mean we will agree, but it gives us understanding.
In Acts 9:1-6, Saul got some clarity. He was on the road to Damascus to find and kill followers of Christ. He was passionate about this. He was certain he was doing the right thing…until a bright light from heaven surrounded him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say, “Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute Me?”
“Who are you?” asked Saul.
“I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. Now get up, go into the city where you will be told what to do.”
And boy did he ever. He became Paul and changed his mission.
Saul’s faith wasn’t in God, it was in the misunderstanding of who God is.
A Jewish father was very troubled by his son wanting to become a Christian and went to see his rabbi about it.
“Rabbi, I brought him up in the faith. Then he tells me last week, he’s decided to be a Christian. Rabbi, where did I go wrong?”
The rabbi says, “Funny you should ask that. I too, brought up my son as a boy of faith and then one day he comes to me and tells me he wants to be a Christian.”
“What did you do?” asked the man of the rabbi.
“I turned to God for the answer,” replied the rabbi.
“What did He say?” asked the man.
He said, “Funny you should ask that…”
Too often we focus on the laws rather than the love.
“You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do” – Anne Lamott
Hate makes Satan’s job a lot easier and there is a lot of hate out there.
Katherine Thacker needed a healthy outlet and she found it.
Her mind was obsessed with hateful thoughts directed toward the suspect who killed her father, a cop, while he was on duty. Forgiveness was out of the question.
“I started writing very angry letters to the man who killed my dad and expressed my hurt.” “But not only did I express my hurt, I also expressed what I wished could happen to him. And they were really really hateful.”
Broken in spirit, she turned away from God.
“Why did God let my dad die?” she asked. “If God’s good, why did He let the man who killed my dad do this?”
Her distancing from God continued until she went to a week-long summer Christian camp.
Slowly but surely, she began to unbuild, brick by brick, the wall she had erected to keep God out of her life.
“I assumed that if I built up this wall, God would be long gone. He’d be so far gone,” she recalls. “I realized that when I took it down and He was still right there. He didn’t leave or walk away.”
Katherine became a Christian and realized she must forgive her dad’s killer.
“My anger was consuming my thoughts, consuming my heart. It was blocking out parts of my heart that God could easily fill up,” she says. “So I ended up, through a lot of prayer, able to fully forgive the man who killed my dad. I hold no grudge against him. He can experience God’s forgiveness too, because he’s a sinful human just like me.”
Katherine stopped writing hateful letters that she never sent to the murderer. Instead, she started writing letters to the bereaved families of fallen policemen.
The power of forgiveness brought healing to her heart and a blessing to many others.
What kind of God do you believe God is?
Who is Jesus and how does He expect His followers to live?
Lord, what do you want me to do?
When our mission is aligned with Christ’s heart then our lives will have an eternal impact