I sat in the morning Mass and listened to the homily. I couldn’t understand a word the priest was saying. His accent was too strong. His command of the English language was too weak. My mind wondered. Why am I here? How is this edifying my spirit? I was reminded of the church’s history. For centuries the Mass was given in Latin. The people listening did not speak Latin. What were they getting out of it? A few years ago, there was a push to go back to Latin services. Why? How would this help any non-Latin speaking church-goer?
There is a colleague I work with who likes to use big words. There is nothing wrong with big words unless his intended audience doesn’t understand what he is saying. Some of the words are outdated and are no longer used. Along with his big words is a whole array of adverbs and modifiers. A word to him cannot stand on its own. It has to have a very, an amazingly, an interestingly, or some other –ly ending word preceding it. He takes what should be a simple statement and elaborates to an extent that the meaning is lost.
I had a conversation last week in which I was told my words were stupid. I thought I was being clear. I thought I was being concise. It didn’t matter what I thought. My message was not getting through.
In the Army, we learned how to use the radio. There were two main parts to communication: the sender and receiver. Either you were coming in Lima Charlie (loud and clear) or you were broken and distorted. If you were broken and distorted, your message was not getting through.
If we cannot communicate in way that is understood by the recipient(s), what is the purpose? It is a reminder and a challenge that I have to give to myself. Write in a way that is clear. Speak in a way that my audience understands. The best communication should be simple. No hidden messages, no innuendos. Clear and concise.
Last Monday, I wrote about the way we respond to others. Now let us take it a step farther. What is your reaction to an offense? Do you have the ability to let it go? Or, do you let it fester? Maybe you vent a little to a sympathetic friend about this injustice?
I was watching a show with Alec last weekend, and he heard the the word humble. He asked what it meant. My response was the opposite of pride, which led me to explain what pride meant. Being humble is a good thing. You are less likely to be offended if you are humble.
We should not let our pride interfere with our relationships. Where is the need for conflict resolution if we prevent the conflict? Sometimes we just need to take a step back and breathe. Hey, let it go.
Whoever overlooks an offense fosters friendship, but whoever gossips separates very friends. -Proverbs 17:9
Someone is in a mood, and you are the next target. He is coming at you at you and likely has the intention of provoking an argument. He is not happy. He doesn’t want to be the only one wallowing in the muck. He wants you there right there by his side.
It could be he is not even looking for a fight. It could just be a misunderstanding. Some poor communication, bad timing, or a feeble attempt at humor that went a bit sideways.
It is easy to get caught in the trap. Maybe you are in a bad mood yourself, and this is what you have been waiting for. Don’t take the bait. You could end up in an argument you may soon regret. Once you let those words fly, you cannot get them back. Depending on your environment, your upcoming spat could have a negative impact on others.
There is another choice. There is a different path. Choose that one and immediately spot the difference.
A mild answer turns back wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. -Proverbs 15:1
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