We all have those conversations with others that leave us feeling that nothing we thought we were saying was heard. Whatever it is we intended to convey often takes a back seat to resentment and frustration. Then, we assure that nothing is heard!
We live in a loud, loud world–where opinions are shouted as truth and personal preference is a god that divides and destroys. Learning to hear and be heard is a vital pursuit. We want our hearts to be intent on the cell phone slogan: Can you hear me now?
A quiet heart resting in God is the key to hearing clearly. It is also the key to speaking clearly. When we have God in His rightful place, powering our lives, we will hear Him and others will as well.
We intuitively understand the damage of speaking from a distressed heart. ‘Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.’ When our heart is impure and filled with ‘us’ instead of Christ, the words we speak reflect that.
David–the man after God’s own heart–gives us insight into what happens when we relate to others with a disquieted heart.
When my heart was embittered
And I was pierced within,
Then I was senseless and ignorant;
I was like a beast before You. Psalm 73:21,22
A heart that is pained and bitter makes us senseless and ignorant. We can’t even think through what we are hearing or seeing. Our relationships with others are cut off. We stand before God as a ‘beast’ instead of one made in His image.
The emotions God built into us are to alert us to the need to go for Him–for a clean-up, a restoration to what really matters. We can’t simply acknowledge our unrest, we must confess it for the sin it is. David didn’t dismiss his sin by excusing himself or accusing another…he said “I was senseless and ignorant.” He owned his limitations and honored God. Then, we see a beautiful picture of how God brings each of us into relationship with Him–and how we can restore relationships in our own lives.
Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You have taken hold of my right hand.
With Your counsel You will guide me,
And afterward receive me to glory. Psalm 73:23,24
God does not toss us aside or even turn His back on us when bitterness and pain causes us to be foolish and ignorant. He holds us fast and guides us with kindness. He refocuses on what really matters and leads us toward that.
My tendency in brick wall conversations is to drop the matter and move on. Sometimes that is the right choice. But always, loving others and leading them toward what really matters with kindness is the right choice.
As Christians, we are called to make disciples of Christ. We can only do that if we surrender our lives so Christ can be seen and felt. Insisting on our opinion, requiring others to see things as we see them or feel about things as we do is not the way of Christ. Through Jeremiah, God told His people, I have drawn you with cords of loving-kindness. He is unchanging. May we change into more of His likeness.