There have been many, many times in my life where I have been misunderstood. Some of those times are because I have one of those faces that always looks mad if I am not smiling. I give the impression that I am not pleased or disinterested, when usually, I am either completely phased out and have no idea what is being said, or I am thinking about what is being said. Either way, I can be SEVERELY misunderstood!
Sometimes I have been misunderstood because of my language skills. In Brazil we speak Portuguese. I will go to my grave still learning and trying to wrap my mouth around different sounds. I have a southern drawl and a back set jaw that causes me to not be understood in English, MUCH LESS, Portuguese! I believe the second I enter Heaven, and can hear and speak perfectly, I will throw both hands in the air in gratitude!
One Sunday evening in our church in Lages (Lah-geez) where we currently minister, I was asked to pray. Now, when one prays in Portuguese there is a lot of verbiage used that requires a good handle on the language. I am never afraid to pray and talk to God, but my senses are heightened when I pray publicly in Brazil because I don’t want to make grievous errors in the land of a people I love and want to tell about Christ. But, I am me, and error is apparently glued to my side 24/7. Here is what happened:
As I began to pray, I named the people in the sanctuary and thanked God for their lives and their salvation. I began to choke up as I remembered each one to the Lord and thanked Him for every drop of His blood He shed on Calvary. The only problem was, I didn’t say “every drop of blood” in Portuguese. I thanked God for “every drop of His Rum.” You see I should have said ‘pingo’ for drop, but I said, ‘pinga’. That one little letter made all the difference in differentiating between Christ’s sacrifice and hard liquor.
Several people giggled as they understood what I had just prayed. And I, once again, had made a fool of myself. My heart knew what it had prayed, but my words caused me to be misunderstood.
Another time, in the same church, I was called on to pray after our hymn singing and prayer request time. I began praying for the burdens I had just heard mentioned and to be honest, there were some people carrying some heavy loads in their lives. So, being the descriptive person I am, I asked God to help us carry our loads. But, I didn’t say ‘carry our loads’ which would have been ‘carregar’….I said, ‘cargar’ which is a euphemism for going to the bathroom.
I seriously never cease to amaze myself on how stupid I can be.
Once again, my heart knew what it wanted to say, but my mouth caused me to be misunderstood.
I have taken the time to give you two humorous examples of being misunderstood because I want you think about how quickly it can happen to anyone and how it shouldn’t have a bearing on whether or not we think God can help the situation.
Joseph was a man who was greatly misunderstood by his own flesh and blood. He was sold into slavery, forgotten about and disgarded as if he were garbage. Why? His brothers mistook his dreams in jealousy and simply tried to better their own lives by removing him. We all know the story and how it comes to a peaceable end, but there is something worth noting at the close of Genesis.
“And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.” Genesis 50:19-21
Even though Joseph had been misunderstood and actually suffered because of that misunderstanding, he didn’t let it rule his response. He could have very well exacted vengeance on his brothers and their families, but he didn’t. He comforted them and spake kindly unto them.
This teaches me that no matter what atrocities we may face in our families, lives or jobs, we can let the thought that we are NOT God be our rule used to determine our behavior. We get it all messed up when we forget God is in control and we decide to control the situation.
Has someone stabbed you in the back?
- Let God be who He is! The Judge. “O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thyself.” Psalms 94:1
Has someone misunderstood you?
- Let God be the One who takes care of it. “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” Romans 12:17-19
Has someone caused you to suffer?
- Let God tell you what to do. “But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.” Luke 6:35
We all have misunderstood and been misunderstood. And each and every time we have the choice to either comfort and speak kindly, or get in the flesh and react and respond.
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32
I find that if I am dwelling in the Lord and letting Him fill me with His Spirit, it is so much easier to comfort and speak kindly. I believe that we find that His Spirit not only helps those around us, but He helps us as we endure the misunderstanding and it will keep us from becoming bitter at our circumstances.
He comforts and speaks kindly to our hearts while we comfort and speak kindly to those who may have misunderstood us or who were just down right mean to us.
I am sure this will be one of those struggles against the flesh we will face until we enter Glory, but isn’t it nice to dwell in the thoughts that He gave us an example of HOW to deal with the struggle? God is so good!
Our Supreme example lies in Christ. What love He showed! Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post!
Until Next Time, Lord willing,
READ THE BIBLE THROUGH WITH ME IN 36 WEEKS!
Today’s reading: Exodus 1-2 / II Samuel 1 / Psalm 27 / Acts 2