"After the Fall" Series – A Big Mistake

"After the Fall" Series – A Big Mistake

Ever said one thing and had it totally misinterpreted?  A time where you said something jokingly, but it was taken seriously, and actually became a real source of tension in the relationship?   I think we’ve all had some experience with our actions and our words being misinterpreted. 
And what usually happens when we think we are saying one thing, but it’s misinterpreted by the one listening to it?  What happens when God tries to tell us something important and we fail to hear it?  The answer is problems; sometimes pretty serious problems.
Steve and Craig were best friends – climbing buddies.  And there are several layers of protection built into rock climbing and its equipment.    In fact, Craig’s friend Bill said the sport is “completely safe…..unless there’s a miscommunication.”  And that’s exactly what happened with Craig and Steve.  Each thought he was the one who was going to be belayed – secured by the rope.  As Craig said, “We made some small mistakes that added up to one big one.”

So let’s look at communication.  And what we need to take from today’s message is the answer to this question:  What can we do to make sure there is no breakdown in communication with God and others?

Well, not many of us are rock climbers so let’s make this thing called communication real to us.
What happens when men communicate their love for their wives using her love language? It’s like this:    A Kansas cyclone hit a farm house just before dawn one morning.  It lifted the roof off, picked up the beds on which the farmer and his wife slept, and set them down gently in the next county.  The wife began to cry.  “Don’t be scared Mary,” her husband said.  “We’re not hurt.”  Mary continued to cry.  “I’m not scared,” she responded between sobs.  “I’m happy ‘cause this is the first time in 14 years we’ve been out together.”

Gentlemen, let’s not let a cyclone, or any other natural phenomena, do our job for us.  Let’s take her out on a date.  We will know when we’ve communicated love to our wives.  She’ll be happy, maybe even have tears in her eyes.

What happens when a husband only tries to communicate his feelings for his wife using only words?  It’s like this:  Husband says, “Dear, I love you terribly.”  Wife responds, “You certainly do.” Again men, terribly is probably not a good word us to use to describe our emotional feelings for our wives, especially when we have not shown her in any other ways.
Or, what happens when a wife calls upon her husband to fix a problem she has created?  It’s like this:  Wife: “Honey, I can’t get the car started.  I think it’s flooded.”   Husband:  “Where is it?”  Wife:  “In the swimming pool.”   Husband:  “It’s flooded.”
Ladies, men like to fix problems.  It’s how God made us and it’s what makes us feel important.   But don’t wait until the problem is too large before you tell us you need help.  When it’s in the pool, it’s too late.
What about Parent-Child relationships?  What happens when a father tries to communicate to his son he needs to get a job?   Father says,“Why don’t you get yourself a job?”Son replies,“Why?”Father responds,“So you could earn some money.”  Son again says,  “Why?” Father says,  “So you could put some money in a bank account and earn interest.”  Son says,“Why?”  Now the father in anguish says,“So that when you’re old enough you can use the money in YOUR bank account……and you would never have to work again.”  And the Son says, “No problem.  I’m not working now.”
Can’t you hear what the son is thinking during this conversation? “Dad, why should I get a job and earn some money?  I already have a bank account through you, a roof over my head, a bed for my body, food to eat, and a car with a full tank of gas to drive.”

The lesson to be learned here for parents is, if we want our children to do something, we’ve got to tell them.  A hidden message behind a question doesn’t always work, especially when they see right through it.

Or, what about a mother who tries to instill in her eldest son the concept of sharing with his younger brother?  “Darling,” scolded the mother, “you shouldn’t always keep everything for yourself.  I have told you before that you should let your brother play with your toys half of the time.”  “I’ve been doing it,” said her son, “I take the sled going downhill and he takes it going up.”
Oh my!  That speaks for itself.
So how important is communication in our lives if we want to have peace; if we want our loved ones to know they are loved; if we want to have a job done right; if we want to hear the voice of God telling us how to live?
I would say, Communication is critical.

If we want to have peace with others, we need to communicate openly and honestly.  People need to know our intent in what we are saying.  Otherwise, what we say may be misinterpreted, thus causing a riff. 

Let’s be real, if we want a marriage to last and remain strong, we need to communicate our love often in words and action.  Wives need to understand what communicates love to their husbands.  Your husband will let you know if you ask him.  And husbands, the same is true of you.  Work together in finding ways to communicate your love to one another.

If we want our children to do what we ask them to do, we need to communicate clearly what we want them to do – just saying, “clean your room” doesn’t mean it will be cleaned the way you-want-it-done.

If we want to hear the voice of God, we need to be still and listen; for communication is a two-way street and listening is just as important as doing the talking.

I know at some point you and I have messed up what we were were trying to communicate, whether to a loved one, a boss, a child, or anyone in general?  And it isn’t a pleasant feeling when we have had to go back and try to make right what we improperly communicated.  Yet, God understands the mistakes we make in communicating.  Sometimes it is our fault for the miscommunication.  Other times it is the fault of the one not listening intently to what we’ve communicated.   In either case, God asks that we give our best in trying to share what needs to be shared.  He asks that we start today in trying to communicate as He has communicated with us.

In Luke 18:31-34 we see Jesus speaking again to the twelve apostles about his death.   Here we see the apostles literally go off for some quiet time with Jesus.  They hear Jesus’ words, but they don’t understand what He is trying to communicate to them.  You and I think, “How can He be any clearer?  He told them He’d be handed over to the Gentiles (anyone not a Jew), who will mock Him, insult Him, spit on Him, flog Him, and will kill Him.  Then after that, He will rise again in three days.”

So why don’t they understand what He is saying to them?  They don’t understand because they were not really listening.  They tunedHim out.  They probably thought His words were ludicrous because no one can kill the Messiah – let alone touch Him.  He is almighty.  He is God’s son.  How can anyone harm the one God has sent to save His people? How can anyone harm the one who has healed the blind and the lame, who has raised the dead back to life, who has performed all kinds of miracles? He’s invincible.  In today’s terms, He’s Superman.

But you see, if they were listening, they would have heard Him say, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled.”  That should have been their clue that God had already spoken these words.  Now would be the time for them to be fulfilled.

Yet, we can find ourselves in the same boat as the apostles.  We tend to take away from a conversation the parts we want to hear.  But as James 1:19 tells us, we need to be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”  This is sound advice.  If we’re quick to speak before we think about what we will say, the Bible says our lives will be a mess (Proverbs 13: 3). But that same verse says that we will be considered wise and our lives will be peaceful – fulfilling – if we will guard what we say.  And the best way to guard against something you will regret saying later is to listen intently to what others are saying to you through their words and their body language.

As a follower of Christ, I should be doing everything I can do to make sure breakdown in communication does not occur on my part.  I don’t have any control over the other party’s actions, but I do have control over mine.  I should be the one guarding what I am saying; the one listening intently to what others are saying to me; the one asking for clarification if I’m not sure I understand what the other person is saying.

Communication is critical in our relationship with others and especially with God.  If our communication lines are open to what God is telling us, He will direct us to communicate wisely with the people in our lives.

Remember Craig said, “We made some small mistakes that added up to a big one.”  Well, it would be a Big Mistake for you and me not to keep our communication lines open to God so that He can mold us into the person He wants us to be.  For you see, if God can’t transform us into the person He wants us to be, then we might as well figure we’re going to continue to struggle to communicate with others.  Let’s allow God to transform our thinking, our heart, our being.  Then, and only then, we will be able to clearly communicate what God desires us to communicate.

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