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feelings misunderstanding motivation Uncategorized words

WHEN MISUNDERSTOOD

Neal Pollard

It will happen, at least occasionally. A remark you make gets taken out of context, will not be correctly heard, or will be heard through the personal filters of the listener. Your facial expressions and body language may not accurately express your feelings or at least not tell the whole story. People may ignore the adage, “Believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see.” While that truism may be naive and certainly not entirely true, we’ve all been on the receiving end of others’ misunderstandings of what we’ve written, said, or done. What do we do when we feel we’ve been unfairly treated by the misunderstandings of others? Consider the following:

  • Try to understand others better.  Everybody has been through the same thing. I need to make sure I’ve not misunderstood intonation, intention, motivation, emotion, or information. It’s easy to happen.
  • Don’t obsess over the hurt. The world has enough victims, and the perpetual victim is exhausting. I cannot afford to fixate on the fracture. I am usually best served to let it g.
  • Rejoice in the great company you are keeping. Jesus’ whole life and ministry was misunderstood by the religious leaders of His day. Their misunderstanding was certainly not the meat of His mission. His eyes focused on the bigger picture. He was perfectly sinless and still unjustly treated. I can rejoice when I’m in a similar position, sinful though I am.
  • Turn to God, not gossip. This is hard! The urge to lash out and retaliate can seem irresistible, but it’s definitely possible. How much greater peace and harmony would come if we resolved to pray (even for the “misunderstander”) when misunderstood?
  • Redouble your efforts to spread salt and light. I may be tempted to throw up my hands and say, “What’s the use? If this is what I get, I quit.” That doesn’t sound so good when I can read it in print. Instead, I need to strive harder to do good.
  • If necessary, clarify but with utmost love and kindness. But, let me do some serious soul-searching and ask, “Is it really necessary?” Can I turn my cheek(s) and move on? If I truly cannot, I need to cleanse my heart of sinful anger and act in genuine love and kindness toward my “aggressor.”
  • Remember that wisdom is justified of her children. Ultimately, the body of work that is your life will leave a clear impression. Most people who know us know more about us than we think. They see what side of the ledger our lives are lived on and they draw conclusions accordingly. I just need to be characterized by righteousness and good works.
  • Be sure you are communicating clearly. Communication is a problem in every medium and relationship. Some do better than others, but all make mistakes. When I am misunderstood, I need the humility and honesty to step back and ask if I asked for a reaction through unclear meaning or veiled messages.

I hate to be misunderstood. But as with every other trial, I can often find blessings even in these distasteful situations. My prayer is that I will not be conformed to the world (or the worldly), but I can be transformed by the renewing of my mind. That’s going to turn out for the best (Rom. 12:1-2).

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Bear Valley church of Christ Daily Bread Neal Pollard Pollard blog Uncategorized

THE PROBLEMS WITH PRESUMPTION

Neal Pollard

Unfortunately, most of us are guilty of it.  Some call it “jumping to conclusions” (which, as it has been noted, can be a very painful exercise), others “reaching a verdict without a trial.”  This usually happens when we venture to guess another person’s motives or judge a person’s life without having all the facts.  The danger of this is that we can be certain of our conclusion, then find we have missed the truth by the proverbial mile.

PRESUMPTION CAUSES ONE TO KNOW BEFORE HAVING INFORMATION.  Solomon, by inspiration, says, “He who gives an answer before he hears, it is folly and shame to him” (Prov. 18:13).  That applies to poor listeners in a conversation, but also faulty perception about one’s circumstances.   It is a biblical principle to be certain of a situation before ever uttering a word about it.  Think of how foolish it is to pass judgment without a full hearing.

PRESUMPTION CAUSES ONE TO HAVE BOLDNESS WITHOUT FOUNDATION.  In 2 Peter 2:10, Peter references certain unrighteous ones, saying, “Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.”  They fearlessly and recklessly speak against others, even those in authority, based on personal opinions they confuse with the truth (here is the idea of “self-willed” or “arrogant”).  They rant and rave about the object of their fury based on preconceived notions that they will not clutter up with the actual truth.

PRESUMPTION CAUSES ONE TO SIN WITHOUT RESTRICTION.  This is why David prayed, “Also keep back your servant from presumptuous sins” (Psa. 19:13a).  It is a prayer for self-control against willful sinning.  He speaks of this same, arrogant spirit, using a word elsewhere translated “proud.”  Willfully entering into sin hardens the heart, including saying something against somebody which we are certain we do not know with certainty is true.

Understand, presumptuous sin takes in much more than our subject, but includes it.  Its synonyms are ugly–audacity, impudence, and gall.  Yet, it is something against which all of us must daily fight!  It is so easy to convince ourselves that we know what is driving other people or what has landed them in their present circumstances.  It got Job’s friends into a big problem.  Let us remember this rule:  Substantiate before you propagate, and then only carefully and prayerfully!