I have always marvelled at the inability of humans to really understand each other in their communications. This spills over into the Church (as in the company of God’s people).
It’s a bit like – you say tomato and I say tomayto – and if it goes on-through to fuller mis-understanding into vehement anger and division – we end up calling the whole thing off. ‘The whole thing’ being our friendship and fellowship.
When we examine examples of this, they are of course, innumerable.
But boiling it all down, I see it, as part of the fall of mankind.
There was a time in God’s perfect creation that mankind did not have the knowledge of good and evil. He only knew life without sin.
However one ‘shall not’ and he ‘did just that’. In Genesis we read:
And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Now as a result of listening and obeying another (Genesis 3/1) – the woman’s and the man’s human spirit fell and mankind became dominated by his fallen nature. His mind began it’s journey of corruption.
And today there are many varying degrees of this fallen nature, this sinful mind, this earthly, sensual, devilish, make-up, manifesting itself in innumerable ways in mankind’s individual or corporate mindset. (James 3/15)
The fallen nature manifests itself in the little ‘white’ lie all the way to murder and rape by ruthless regimes.
Out of the heart of mankind comes:
18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 20 These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”
There are other lists of sins in the bible that describe the result of this nature that has inherited the knowledge of good and evil, from our forefather Adam. This is referred to as the ‘Adamic nature’.
But what I want to draw attention to, is this inability to properly communicate.
To properly understand each other.
I have noticed it over the years, and realised that unless Christians having fellowship, take the time to ensure that mutual humility is present, before they communicate, then when misunderstanding arises, it will end-up in some kind of division or parting of the ways.
If we fail to believe God’s truth as it is found (unadulterated), in the Scripture (The Holy Bible) – then as a result, we fail to encounter the One who is ‘The Truth’.
Christ gives us a new nature, as He gives Himself to us and enters us by The Holy Spirit, if we respond to the Word of the Gospel. This new nature is a renewed or born again human spirit.
23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
But it is the old nature that has the knowledge of good and evil, that corrupts the true truth of God’s pure word. Man on innumerable occasions has corrupted the letter of God’s word.
Christians meeting to hear the public reading of God’s Word are hearing pure truth.
Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
The preacher may present this pure truth well or corrupt it with his old nature.
Both things are possible.
The safest possible ground that believers have for communicating with each other is to simply repeat the Word of God from mouth to ear in the assembly of God’s people.
If I speak a scripture to you, and you in turn speak a scripture to me – we have communicated perfectly.
That’s why we read in Matthew 5/
37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
It is easy for communications to become confused, divisive, and eventually outright evil as we…
…bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
So apart from necessary everyday communication in the workplace, school, or where tasks are being carried out corporately, being slow to speak isn’t a bad idea.
So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;
But even yea or nay can be misunderstood.
What are we to do?
We can only talk until things become clear. But sometimes it makes the situation worse if ego and oneupmanship take over, and talking becomes bickering.
The fact that divisions come, the fact that the world is in the mess it is in. And governments are at loggerheads internally and with other governments of other nations – shows clearly that the world is held captive by an inherited nature that can’t find agreement easily.
I’m reminded again of the humorous misunderstanding that took place between my friend’s wife and the weather forecaster on the car radio.
She heard the forecaster say: ‘Mister Fog’ will be about’.
So she made the comment to her husband (also in the car): ‘Who does he think he is addressing – children!?’
What he actually said was: ‘mist or fog will be about.’
If only the results of misunderstanding were as innocuous as this.