Wow. What a Sunday. Ever wonder if what people hear is in no way what you’re saying? I’ve wondered this a lot lately as I’ve read various blogs and forums of people “hearing/reading” all kinds of different things from the same writer/pastor (including my own). How do some people hear the opposite of what someone else hears? This is critical question to ask as communicators, leaders, disciple-makers… Though we are not responsible for what people do with our message, we are stewards of that message – how we deliver it is important. So, we need to keep our finger on the pulse of what is heard, not just what we’re saying. It’s easy to get defensive or dismissive. But our goal is to communicate, not just write/speak.
Here are a few funny examples of gross misunderstandings from my family afternoon (Me, my wife, and our three crazy daughters):
Us: “What did you learn today in your class?”
Ella (3): “Jesus did not die on the cross.”
Ella: “The teacher was wrong. He said ‘Let my people go’ but the bad man said ‘no, no, no!'”
* I’m guessing one teacher said something along the lines of “today we’ll probably talk about how Jesus died on the cross…” But another teacher said “No, today’s Bible story is Exodus.” OR maybe even an attempt to explain that Jesus did not stay dead after the cross – He rose again on Easter. (???)
(Thanks Orthodox, Bible-Believing Church)
Later, Adalyn (5): “Dinosaurs lived a long time before people.”
Us: That’s right, what else do you know about dinosaurs?”
Adalyn: “I think God killed them.”
Adalyn: “Or maybe they just died.”
(Thanks Christian Preschool)
Ella: “Yeah, like Curious George had blood in his eyes and mouth and people were dancing on his body.”
Amanda: “Oh gosh. Yeah, you mean on PBS when they showed the cartoon about how your bodies work when George was sick and they imagined that they went inside his body to see everything and were dancing around with good blood cells and bad germs?”
(Thanks Educational Programming)
Closing example. While we were at Dairy Queen, eating our kiddie cones, I noticed this sign. Again, two completely opposite meanings could be conveyed from this overly simple graphic. Is this a kid running TO Friendly McHugger or FROM Scary McGrabber? Either way I understand that this is a safe place, but what is on that disturbing sign?
So is what you mean to say clear?