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Monday, January 05, 2015

How To Stand When Misunderstood (part 1)

A misunderstanding can be a tiny thing, but then so is a termite. A friend from Long Island told me of his experiences with the tiny bug: it’s blind, lives 48 hours and destroys everything. The damage of misunderstanding is not easy to repair.

The start of a new year is often the time most people want to get back in shape. Interestingly, as “out of shape” as many may be, we have eight well-worked and very “in shape” muscles--they are found in the tongue. Flex it just right and an entire reputation is destroyed; ones’ good motives are suddenly transformed into evil motives; dignity is stripped. It’s not true that sticks and stones only break bones. Words hurt.

The tongue can stab people in the back without shame in broad daylight. Often the victims slowly bleed to death without knowing they were wounded. Then CSI comes (Christ, Spiritual Inspector) and He finds the victim sitting in their car in the church parking lot wondering what just happened in that conversation. The weapon bears fingerprints of saints who, just moments before, raised their holy hands praising the Holy One.

Life is full of trouble but the most devastating damages come from the tongue. When your motives were pure, have you been hurt by comments regarding things you did or did not do? Have you been injured by misunderstandings of what you said--or did not say? Did someone confuse your intentions?

When our character is called into question, we suddenly realize we are faced with a difficult decision: do I hold my tongue, or use it in defense? Do I bite my tongue and wait to see if this blows over, or throw down--“let it do it’s thing!” Do I answer the lie said about me? And if I do, will the problem be better or worse? How do I speak the truth, in love?

We are now in the perfect position to understand Paul’s situation when he wrote his second letter to the Corinthian church. Paul began by reminding his readers first of the priority of God’s truth regarding his identity and ministry to that church. Second, he reminded them of who God is, who Jesus is and the identity and purpose of the church. Finally, he reminds them of their relationship with one another as children of God and of the comfort brought in the face of the difficulties experienced by believers.

In short, Paul explains in 2 Corinthians 1:1-11 that it is the will of God that the church of God, built of the saints of God, be blessed with the Grace and Peace of God through the Christ of God, the God of all Comfort.

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