June 19, 2015
The power of misunderstanding is so destructive and it started at the original sin of Adam and Eve. The crafty serpent simply asked Eve, “Did God really say…” (Genesis 3:1) In short, the serpent introduced the art of misunderstanding to produce the first sin of humankind. Thousands of years later, people continue in misunderstanding resulting in destroying marriages, cultures, churches and nations. A simple misunderstanding can escalate into a war.
Misunderstanding leads to offense and offense leads to faulty reasoning. In Eve’s case, she was offended that God was withholding a particular fruit tree and her “good” reasons for eating the fruit was “good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom.” (Genesis 3:6)
Human Response to Misunderstanding
Misunderstanding leads to Offense leads to “Good” Reasons leads to Bad Decisions
To Eve, her reasons seemed like “good” reasons. An offended heart always creates “good” reasons for bad decisions. “Good” reasons” are used to justify our feelings of offense.
When Cain killed Able, there was a big misunderstanding. Cain did not understand how to give an offering to God. God tries to help Cain through his misunderstanding and that He still accepts him. Cain was too offended to hear God and makes a very bad decision. (Genesis 4:6-80)
Jesus is misunderstood by his family, relatives, friends, hometown, disciples, religious leaders, and political leaders. His statement on the cross, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) My translation, “Father forgive them, for there is a big misunderstanding.” Jesus forgives the ultimate misunderstanding.
The apostle Paul, was rejected by the Corinthian church which he had founded. The misunderstand between the church and Paul was so painful that he elected not to visited them so as not to cause them more offense. (2 Corinthians 2:1-4)
The forces of misunderstanding affected Eve, Cain, Jesus, Paul, and us today. We allow misunderstanding to lead us into offense, we will only see our “good” reasons and never see God’s reasons. Through forgiveness, we are able to come into God’s reasons and make good decisions.
Godly Response to Misunderstanding
Misunderstanding leads to Forgiveness leads to God’s Reasons leads to Good Decisions
Some Practical Understandings to Misunderstandings:
- Misunderstandings are normal. Misunderstandings are part of the fall of humankind and will continue. Even Jesus was misunderstood.
- You will be Offended. If misunderstandings are normal, then offenses are common. Being offended is Satan means to create disunity. Being offended is God’s means to created deeper unity with others.
- People’s responses toward you is not related to your worth. Your worth is not contingent upon what others believe about you. Your worth comes from God. If you allow your worth to be depended on others then you will be easily offended.
- It’s not about me, it’s all about God. In the big picture, if you are offended, it is not about you, it is about God.
- Confess your emotions and your hurts. Confession is the first step in being free of hurt. Denial is the first step to emotional confusion.
- Forgive the person. Forgiveness means letting go of your anger, not justifying people’s bad behavior. We can choose forgiveness, “Father forgive them, for there is a big misunderstanding.”
- Let Go. Letting it go, means we no longer carry the misunderstanding, offense and/or hurt around.