How often do you get frustrated when you tell something to someone and they so don’t get what you are saying and interpret it in a way that’s totally not understood? Shouldn’t communication be a simple thing? Well, fact it isn’t!!!
First of all we each wear our own uniquely coloured lenses… these lenses are made up of various components… Our upbringing, our cultures/ traditions, our religions, our ethnicity, exposure, education etc all form how we think and thus what we believe in from which our values stem. We think through these factors – hence we are already restricted in how we perceive things. So just imagine communicating one message formed in your brain with your uniquely coloured lenses, to another person who has their uniquely coloured lenses! They will obviously decipher your message through their lenses… the way they understand it. One word in one culture, even perhaps of the same language, could have quite the opposite meaning in another culture. What is good to one man, could be another man’s poison!
Right… as this is all not enough, we have a few more components in the concept of communication. First of all, it is known that words make up only 7% of communication. Tone of voice etc makes up 38% while the bulk goes to body language. It is body ‘language’ and not just signals. Allan & Barbara Pease caution that the signs have to be taken in context and it’s language which consists of clusters…
Women tend to be ‘intuitive’ and according to Pease, that it is that they decipher body language much better than men. (Obviously these are generalisations, whereby it is not so will women and not the case with all men… and some will have a better ‘intuition’ than others). People with high intuition, will hear someone saying something but notice the other parts of their communication totally contradicting what the person is saying. Thus she will totally ignore / disbelieve what is being said. Some people can judge another’s character (good, bad and the ugly) at first sight in an instant… (Does this all bring light to some of you? Are any of you having an ‘aha’ moment, and saying that makes sense?!! Well it did to me as I have had many getting annoyed with me that I’m reading into things – although it usually more often than not, turns out to be right.)
Right – so those are ‘worldly’ theories and patterns about general human behaviours. What does communication boil down to as a believer?
First of all there should be no wonder that communication is not easy but rather confusing. It was meant to be so as a result of sin. When the people were building the tower of Babel to make a name for themselves (focus going to self rather than on God), they spoke one language. God scattered them around the world and confused the language. The gift of tongues (or rather language) that was brought about from the day of Pentecost, was such that people of other languages could hear about Jesus.
Well, I can’t help wonder whether the worldly concept of ‘intuition’ is nothing but discernment. And we know ‘spiritual’ gifts can be gotten from the Holy Spirit as well as the evil spirits. We see in the Bible a slave girl having the spirit of predicting the future. Following Paul and the others, she was shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” (Acts 16:16-18). Yes, she was talking about the Most High God, yet she wasn’t predicting through the Holy Spirit. (It is the fruit of the Spirit in a person’s life that makes it evident of the source of the gift. Hence judging someone based on their ‘ministry’ Is totally misplaced).
Oops went a bit out of topic there… but yes, we see a parallel between a component of communication with the spiritual aspect above.
On the other hand, our communication with God has reasons as to why it is not clear…. Jesus poses a question and then answers it!
“Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say” (John 8:43).
Well, that’s quite a question and quite an answer!!! Let’s look at it in context:
42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” (John 8:42-27).
Like our uniquely tinted lenses hinder our communication with each other, our desires / longings hinder our communication with God. When our hearts are heavily laden with the things of the flesh, when they are not of God, we cannot hear God as we are so busy trying to fulfil our desires. Jesus makes it clear that we are unable to hear what He says when we do not belong to God. Nope, don’t get that wrong! God always wants us – but often we rebel from Him and thus carry out instead the devil’s desires… and I think it’s alarming that then, he becomes our father. It does make sense, when we pursue the things of the world, we are indeed letting go of our Heavenly Father. Then we wonder why God isn’t answering our prayers or we feel God will bless our little plans convincing ourselves that those are from Him.
Who is your father today?
- Is it the devil, whose desire you are attempting to carry out, filled with lies and murder and acts of the fleshly nature (read the list in Galatians 5:19-21)?
- Is it the Heavenly Father, who is truth? Do you belong to God?
Prayerfully allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you today… to open your eyes to the areas of life where the father of lies has deceived you and convinced you to follow the ways of the world and fleshly desires…..
Submit those areas to our Heavenly Father. When our communication with God is right, that will spill over in our relationships with one another too as we will be increasingly a people with the fruit of the Spirit evident in our lives.
If we want to hear from God, we need to put a check that we indeed belong to God.