Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Communication? I Give Up!

Are you familiar with this old Hymn? “I surrender all, I surrender all. All to Thee my blessed savior, I surrender all.” I’m surrendering again.

I give up!

I give up any right I thought I had of being understood. God understands me. He understands my motives and meaning better than I ever could. I’m just going to rest in that. No matter what I say or how carefully I choose my words someone will misunderstand.

Someone will hear something I did not mean to imply. Someone will choose to feel hurt by words that were not hurtful. I can’t help that. I can’t take responsibility for someone’s hurt feelings. I can only take responsibility for my words and motives. If my words and motives are pure, and someone feels hurt anyway, that is not my fault.

I can't help it if someone hears what I did not say. I can try to clarify myself, but the reality is that individual just may not get it. And I’m okay with that.

 I don’t want to argue and defend myself. I want to lay down my life for that person and pray for wisdom to love them no matter how angry and ugly their response may be. If I think I’m  always right, and have a right to be understood, I won’t have the freedom to love.

 Now, I know I miss speak, and don’t always communicate as accurately as I’d like. I am sorry. I am a sinner. I’m happy to clarify and take responsibility for my words. I just don’t have the power or ability to control how others feel about what I say.

Teri B.C. owned a sharp tongue that could decapitate her victim in one swift stroke. I know how to use hurtful words. But that Teri died. This new Teri has no desire to kill anyone, especially not verbally. Yet, despite my best intentions people still misunderstand me.

Oh well, all I can say is “I’m sorry, you’re hurting,” or “I’m sorry you took offense.” I am not wrong and they are not wrong to hurt or be angry. We simply can’t understand each other perfectly because we are not perfect.

In laying down my “right” to be understood I also lay down my “right” to be easily hurt or angered by the words of others. As a child, I felt the verbal blows of many bullies. It comes with the territory of being the new kid on the block. My mom taught me the little poem, “Sticks and stones may break my bones…”

Now, I know words can be hurtful, but I also know I am responsible for choosing how I react. I can choose to feel hurt or I can choose to feel compassion. I can choose anger or patience. How I respond is up to me. If I choose to not be provoked things go so much better.

America is a thin skinned culture. So much for the tolerance movement! I hear more hate and anger now than I ever have before. Once upon a time bullies were people who beat you up and stole from you. Now anyone who says something we perceive as wrong is a bully, and we bully back. I will not be like that. In surrendering to God I choose to go against that flow.

“Love thinks no evil.” I refuse to believe that others want to hurt me with their words. If my feathers get ruffled I will look in my own heart and ask myself, “Why did that hurt?” or “Am I angry because my toes are too long and didn’t need to get stepped on?” I may just need to pluck my ruffled feathers out.

I know people who hurt, hurt others. And hurting people can be overly sensitive. I will do my best to speak carefully, but let’s face it, I will fail at times. I’m just glad God never fails. He understands all of us. And He is the Healer Who makes all thing work for good. And to this compassionate Father, I surrender all!