I still find myself dismayed or even angry when what I say or write isn’t received as I intended it to be heard or read.
It is a reminder to me that communicating is a “two-way street.” Even when I’m writing a blog post or preaching a sermon, I should not think of it as a monologue. It is a dialogue – because it involves at least two people, me and the person or persons who hear (or read) me.
I strive to be thankful when that communication actually becomes a dialogue where we speak to each other.
Even if the response is negative.
For the response may be negative or positive, as you might expect. However, it also may be positive and I receive it as negative. That’s when I have to be reminded of a simple, little formula I came up with a few weeks ago for a devotion that I shared with some friends.
It was about emails and text messages, but it is relevant for any communication.
Send with the best intention.
Receive with the best construction.
At the heart of all communication is exactly that – the heart. What is in my heart develops into my communication. If I am loving God and loving my neighbor, then what I say or write will be “sent” with the best of intention. This is living the truth of “Christ who lives in me.”
Then I have to be reminded that after I say or write “with the best intention” I cannot control how what I say or write is received. I pray that it will be received with the best construction, but I know this doesn’t always happen. And I simply can’t control that!
The relationship I have with the person hearing or reading me can go a long way to being received with the best construction – and that will help me to put what I want to say in a proper context. But the stark truth is that I simply cannot control how what I say is received.
When I’m feeling particularly hurt or scared, the temptation will be to stop communicating. Just shut up and shut down. That way no one can take what I say the wrong way. No one gets hurt.
But that isn’t true either. I’m hurt – because I cannot communicate what I want to say. Others may get hurt – because they won’t hear what God wants them to hear (speaking as a preacher of the Gospel here).
I hope you will read this with the best construction, because I really am writing it with the best intention.
Let me know, please?