Communication is so difficult. One reason that is so is that we read our own “baggage” into communicating with others.
For example, recently my daughter said to my wife, “Mommy, yours has more GRAY in it than Daddy’s.” My daughter was comparing our shirts which looked exactly alike except for the shade. But my wife mistakenly thought she was talking about…her hair. In other words, she thought my child was saying that my wife’s hair is more gray than mine (which is not true, by the way). So my wife launched into a mini-sermon and my daughter looked on with a weird expression on her face. Then, my daughter said, “Mommy, I was talking about your shirt.”
We all had a laugh as each member of my family was there to hear all of this. It was a great lesson in miscommunication. We all do that from time to time. We read into what someone else is saying and we misunderstand their heart and intended meaning.
God wants us to be “quick to hear and slow to speak” so a simple question by my wife would have avoided the whole incident.
I encourage you: do not judge another person’s comment when you think it is attacking or unclear; instead, ask a question. Questions clarify communication and are essential to understanding, especially in biblical counseling sessions.
Are you a good question “ask-er” and a good listener?
-Mark (learning to ask better questions everyday of my life)