Jump Start # 3225
Matthew 9:4 “And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, ‘Why are you thinking evil in your hearts?’”
Communication is the key to all growing and healthy relationships. This is true within a marriage. This is true in parenting. This is true in business. It’s true in the church. It’s true in our walk with Christ. And, one of the key reasons for troubled and failing relationships is communication issues.
In our verse today, Jesus has just forgiven a cripple of his sins. The scribes were fuming. They were thinking that Jesus blasphemed. They rightly understood that no one can forgive sins but God. What they missed was that Jesus was God. Their minds were swirling at the boldness and audacity of Jesus. How dare he claim to be God! This is where our verse comes in. Jesus knew their thoughts. No words had to be spoken. Jesus knew. And, to prove He could do these things, Jesus told the crippled to take up his bed and walk. And, immediately he did just that.
We don’t have this power and insight as Jesus did. We cannot know the thoughts of others. Our interaction is based upon what people tell us. Communication. And, here in, lies many problems. Parents can’t read the minds of their children. We may see them rolling their eyes, sighing and from that the conclusion is made that the kids do not agree. But when asked how school went today and the answer given is, “ok,” the parent doesn’t know about their child being made fun of, or bullied or being rejected by others. Parents can’t know the thoughts. The same is true in a marriage. Sometimes the tension is obvious. Wives are wonderful at saying, “We need to talk.” Immediately, the husband feels like he is headed to the principal’s office. Something is not right and it’s probably his fault. Communication. In the church, shepherds want to help the sheep. Some are drifting and beginning to fall to pieces spiritually. But smiles on Sunday morning hide all of that. The shepherds cannot know the thoughts of the sheep.
Here are some things to consider:
First, I cannot expect others to help or to understand if I put up barriers all around my feelings and thoughts. Some are critical of others because no one offered to help, however, no one else knew. We easily tell others what we think they want to hear so we keep up this game that everything is fine when it is not. We continue to wear masks hiding our true thoughts.
This is done often times out of fear. We don’t want others to think less of us. We don’t want to admit that we need help. We don’t want to appear less than perfect. So an image is created. It’s not the true picture. Our feelings are stuffed deep inside us and no one is allowed in.
We need to get beyond this. Friendships and fellowship involves risks. There is no shame in admitting that you need help. There is nothing wrong with asking someone to pray for you. As new people come in, it is hard for them to live up to this image that has been created. No one has troubles. No one needs help. No one has problems. Everything is always great. Before long, that hypocrisy cracks and the reality of troubled people comes to the surface.
Second, it’s hard for me to expect you to be honest if I am not honest in return. When I never admit having a bad day, making wrong choices, having thoughts I shouldn’t have, needing an attitude adjustment, I raise the bar so high that even my family cannot reach it. There are times when the Scriptures ought to bother us. There are times when a sermon ought to sting us. There are times when it’s hard to fellowship some. Honesty will lead to proper solutions and better relationships. Hiding these things only keeps the game going that I like you, when I don’t.
Third, telling a person what they want to hear can be destructive and even harmful to their soul. Paul was straightforward with Peter when Peter was breaking fellowship with the Gentiles. Peter needed to hear that. Peter needed to change. Correction involves telling a person what is right and that is often not what they want to hear. They want to continue on the course that they are following. They want to know that everything is fine. Most of us would still be in our sins had the Lord not be honest with us through the Scriptures. We were lost. We were sinners. We were hopeless and helpless. We needed salvation through Jesus.
Now, there is a way and a time to have these crucial and difficult conversations. Being kind, yet honest and truthful, will lead to better behavior. This is important in parenting. Screaming and shouting and making unrealistic threats is not the proper steps in parenting or marriage. However, sitting face to face, talking and explaining will build relationships and improve matters.
The shepherds are not mind readers. Something not right, talk to them. Don’t get upset because “they are supposed to know.” They are not Jesus. They cannot read your mind. Talk to them, in kindness. They will help you, if you invite them into your heart. The same is true in a marriage. Don’t play the guessing game of “you know what’s wrong,” when most likely, the other person doesn’t have a clue. The same works in parenting. Teens complain about how clueless their parents are and how they don’t care, but much, much too often, the teens are not leaving any clues. They keep their thoughts close to the vest and parents are left playing a guessing game as to what is going on.
Communication is about two people. Open. Honest. Listening. Sure, it’s risky. Certainly, you can’t do this with everyone. But, where it’s needed, it can be so much better. In the corporate world, it’s a dog fight. People have their own agendas that often include getting to the top and doing as little as possible. It’s all about self preservation and getting the most for self. Communication in those settings are hard because people do not play fair nor by the same rules. But in the home, in the church, and with God, we can and must do better at communicating.
In some ways, it is a blessing that we cannot know what others are thinking. It would probably scare us and disappoint us to know what others really thought. We need to leave those things to the Lord and just work on developing better communication skills.