I don’t like to be misunderstood. But, it happens. When it does, I have to resist the urge to feel frustrated and aggravated. I try so hard. I choose my words very carefully and deliver them very clearly. Surely then, I tell myself, I can make sure that folks understand. But, sometimes, no matter how hard you strive for clarity, people just do not hear what you are saying. Jesus could relate.
“This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.” Matthew 13:13 NIV
When I sit down with someone I care about to discuss an important matter, I want them to hear what I’m saying. I want them to know I hear what they are saying. I am a big believer in open communication. I want to walk away from a discussion with understanding and being understood. Don’t you? But, the truth is, too often, what is said is not heard and what is seen is not perceived. Jesus can relate.
“You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.” Matthew 13:14 NIV
As a parent I sometimes struggle with getting my kids to listen. They’re often distracted or disinterested. Sometimes I make them stop and repeat back what I said to them in an attempt to make sure they heard me. Even then, there is a chance that they’ll return moments later and ask, “What did you say momma?” Or “I heard you say to go get something from my room but I didn’t hear you say what it was.”
I’d like to offer this thought for you to ponder today. Have you been listening lately? I mean truly hearing what God said? I mean understanding and perceiving what He is trying to communicate with you? Has the Holy Spirit been attempting to get your attention to no avail? Are you distracted? Disinterested?
As I read the parable of the sower and the seeds in Matthew 13 this morning I knew that too often the descriptions of unheslthy heart conditions listed there, applied to me and my heart. What about you?
“When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.””
Matthew 13:19-23 NIV
Today and the days following I am going to start listening more carefully and go beyond the surface of the words I can often repeat without much effort. This week and the weeks to come I am going to attempt to settle in and put down some roots so I won’t be so easily scorched. This month and the months to come I am going to do a bit of weeding and soil preparation. And then, I’m going to look forward to a harvest of peace and joy and hope because I will have positioned myself to receive all that God has in mind for my life. Now, do you understand?