As we all know, there are many obstacles to proper communication. Some of the problems happen when one person says one thing, but the other person hears something completely different. This is very common. We call it selective hearing and it affects many people.
Children usually ignore instructions from the parents unless it is something they really want to do. A parent might say to the child: "if you clean your room, we will go to the zoo". Going to the zoo is heard loud and clear to that child. What is not so clear is the first part about cleaning their room.
In Genesis chapter three, we see that Eve finally heard what she wanted to hear. She was really upset about the command from God, and all it took was the serpent saying to her that she would "not" surely die. As we see, she did not die physically, but did die spiritually. This has been a problem for countless numbers of people throughout history.
We see it every day. We know that some news agencies are biased in their presentation of the facts, and they usually have their own audience who will pay attention to what they say. Yet we also know that if an independent news agency reported something, the listeners hear two different things. That is because they are pre-programmed by their likes and dislikes, what they believe, and partly what they want to hear. We see this when a speech is shown, and the commentators from the two sides respond with completely different takes on what was said.
So we know that preconceived ideas slant a person heavily in one direction or another. That is why they can hear an identical soundbite from the news and become convinced of what they heard. The other person is wrong simply because they did not hear it the same way.
We spend a lifetime trying to communicate to all sorts of people. Sometimes we need to repeat ourselves often, and still the message is not received. Many supervisors and bosses learn the lesson of "listening to communicate". In simple terms, the boss tells the employee what is expected, but instead of letting them go attempt what the boss wants, the boss needs to ask the employee if he/she understands the directive, and the boss should ask the employee to repeat the instructions so that there is very little chance that miscommunication took place. Yes, sometimes you have to treat grown up people like children if you want something done right.
Now, God has given us His instructions in the page of the Bible. They should be simple enough to understand, but we find people getting it wrong all the time. Many choose not to follow the instructions and choose to do as they please. Some may ask the question: WHY? But you see, it really does not matter why because God said so, and that should settle the matter. Still, we have those who have been taught error in the past, and understanding the truth is often hid from them because of their background.
A person can speak the truth, but the person who does not want the truth will hear something else. Often a person may speak the truth trying to be as kind in the matter as possible, and the listener will hear hate speech and reject it totally. So let us work to remove the barriers of communication and open our conversation.
By Carey Scott
Return to the General Articles page
Home / Bible studies / Bible Survey / Special Studies / General Articles / Non-Bible Articles / Sermons / Sermon Outlines / Links / Questions and Answers / What Saith The Scriptures /Daily Devotional / Correspondence Courses / What is the Church of Christ / Book: Christian Growth / Website Policy / E-mail / About Me /