Pastoral Perspectives

I Am Misunderstood!

Do you know me? Do you make the effort to know me and the people around you? Do you courageously make that simple move to know the neighbour next door? What prevented us or pulled us back is basically fear of being misunderstood! The lack of a clear knowledge of someone can create a lot of problems and can lead to some kind of misunderstandings. Knowing people takes much effort and time. Do you understand me? Do you make the effort to reach out to me so as to understand me? The lack of a determined effort to hear attentively to someone can likewise cause a few unpleasant misunderstandings. Authenticity, transparency and integrity are required in any kind of relationships. Relationship is tough but delicate. One has to be careful how one handles relationship. One little misunderstanding can rock one’s relationship that has been “smooth sailing”. Relating well with people requires love and understanding.

I am poor in speech. I am also poor in listening. I lack the capacity in communicating clearly what I want to say and what I really meant to say. It is because of this that misunderstandings do arise when I communicate with people. So, I would often remind myself to think first before I articulate my thoughts and give my suggestions. The other useful thing which I would remind myself to do is to commune with God first before communing with people. Talking with God through prayer helps me to respond better to people. It gives me a better perspective of things in knowing how to effectively respond to others. It provides avenue for me to understand myself better and also understand the situation around me better. It is always good to look at things in a distant and also in God’s perspective rather than men’s perspective.

I am just like Moses who admitted that he was not eloquent in speech. I am not good at expressing my thoughts and feelings to others. Oftentimes I tend to hide my feelings from others. At times, it is just so obvious that I am displeased with so and so. My body language is the first thing that gives away easily to others how I feel towards this incident or towards that person. I know that this is something which I can never hide it from others. I am praying that I will be more gracious, more loving, more understanding and more considerate towards others who are made in the image of God.

Misunderstanding is a real issue in the church. It can cause unnecessary strife and stress in the community. Truthfulness and transparency are requisites of a healthy community. How do we deliberately build community within True Way brothers and sisters in Christ? How do we authentically relate with one another? Do we relate with suspicion? Of course not! As being called to be true disciples of Jesus Christ within this community, we must do our utmost to maintain harmony and peace among ourselves. Or else, how are we going to be the “light” and the “salt” for our Lord Jesus Christ?

As for me, to effectively bridge across any barriers or obstacles, I need to communicate clearly, comfortably and confidently so that I will not be misunderstood. The tone of voice, the right usage of words and the way it is being communicated are very vital in any good communication. This would be my earnest prayer to God: “Lord God Almighty, teach me to communicate clearly to the people whom You want me to relate with. When I should be silent, let me be silent. When I should speak, let me speak clearly and courageously. When I should shine for You, use me readily for Your Name’s sake. Amen.” In order not to be misunderstood, I must make the effort to avoid assumptions and presumptions. I must cultivate virtues of patience and perseverance in my relationship with people. Listening more and speaking less ease it all. Praying regularly and consistently helps me to set my relationship with others in the right footing. Submitting everything to God paves the way for a good and healthy relationship. I will always trust God to do the impossible. I will always be ready to be changed and directed by God alone.

With God’s guidance and help, I believe that many of us will improve in our communication with one another and hence, also in our relationship with one another so much so that there will be lesser misunderstandings arising among ourselves.

Pr George Ang

July 2, 2017