photo courtesy of the National Cancer Institute on Unsplash
They’d worked for weeks on their parts, practicing tirelessly, with giggles and squirms in between lines. They were to perform for the whole group of us–parents and friends grinning ear to ear with each child who rose to recite what they’d learned.
They were sharing a story from the Bible in a way that was pure storytelling. Some spoke boldly, others with a hint of hesitation. All were thrilled. One of the childcare workers held a microphone so the kids would be easier to hear. Some had the courage to grab the microphone with a little more moxie than some of us older folks would have had.
But with all the help from a friend as he held the script and fed them lines, there were still times when their voices couldn’t be heard, when their words were garbled no matter how hard they tried. Their performances were as good as we could expect.
They were young.
Communication is necessary in dealing with people. We want to be known by others, and we long to be understood for who we are and what we think. Rather than “working on our lines”, we often speak without thinking, not considering what our words do to others. Even on social media, we’re too quick to comment, criticize, ridicule, or rationalize.
Our words come from whatever fills our hearts, what we allow to influence and impact our thoughts and emotions. With the anger and frustration in the world around us, the divisiveness among people everywhere, and the heaviness of the loss and grief so many people experience, our hearts are often filled with the hurt that oozes over to those around us.
The statement, “Hurting people hurt people”, has been ascribed to many, but the truth of the statement is that we’re all hurting in some way, and our pain affects others. Words can feel like the only way to release suffering.
Jesus, speaking to a crowd of people, said,
“A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.” Luke 6:45
So often we’re not aware of what fills our hearts. We speak out of emotion, often with no governors to restrain what we say. There’s a reason so many confrontations or disagreements need a mediator–to make sure the words said are understood for what their intended meaning was.
Jesus is the perfect Mediator–between us and God and us and others. He gives us words that can be filled with wisdom and kindness. He can provide a pause in our minds to keep us from speaking when we should be listening.
The kids were able to get through their performance with help, and we all knew what they spoke of.
Do those you speak to fully understand what you’re trying to say?
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