- Proverbs 13:2 (NKJV) A man shall eat well by the fruit of his mouth…
As a preacher, Proverbs 13:2 is one of my “life verses”. Being a communicator of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a calling. But also on a practical level, being able to communicate effectively is how I feed my family. Thus, on two levels, being able to communicate effectively is hugely important to me.
Over the years I have learned that Proverbs 13:2 can be a doubled-edged sword (a man can also eat poorly by the fruit of his mouth!). I have learned to never underestimate the possibility of being misunderstood and misinterpreted–it happens virtually every Sunday!
In most cases, when I am misunderstood, it boils down to this: People hear my words but they do not hear my heart.
Sometimes people’s inability to hear my heart is due to my poor communication skills but often it is due to their biased listening skills. (And by the way, I struggle with the same issue–I suspect we all do.)
It is so easy to read into other people’s words our own understanding of what they’re saying. We hear through our filters, prejudices and world view. When we do this we run the risk of greatly misinterpreting and misrepresenting other people.
This is not just a communicator-by-trade issue. This can happen in homes, offices, factories, and class rooms. It can happen at church, between friends, and in casual conversation on the street.
Remember, for the most part, people are not evil or mean-spirited. Before you get offended and huffy; before you quote someone; before you interpret what someone says; ask yourself: have I heard their heart?
Hearing someone’s words is the easy part; listening for someone’s heartbeat—not so much.