Avoid Misunderstandings

The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son on Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. John 6:52-53 NRSV

Great success is often followed by major setbacks. In terms of popularity, after feeding a crowd of thousands, Jesus was at the top of the charts. MC900351599But it didn’t take long for people to become disillusioned and antagonistic toward him. Jesus’ fall was mostly due to a simple misunderstanding. He tried to get the people see that he was the Bread of Life.

The problem was that people heard his words, but totally missed his meaning. Isn’t that how misunderstandings happen? We listen, and then interpret things from our own perspectives. We don’t give others the chance to open their worlds to us and explain what they really mean.

MP900408938[1] I don’t want to walk away from anyone because of a misunderstanding. Today’s passage reminds me I need to slow down and not rush to judgment. I need to take a moment to see things from the other person’s perspective. Then, once I have heard and clearly understood the full meaning of what I had been told, I can decide whether I agree or disagree.

I see lots of people talking, but see very few really taking the time to listen. That was the problem in Jesus’ day, and still is ours today. Maybe that’s why there are so many partisan divides in our society and broken relationships in our families.

If nothing else, 2011 is a great time to learn from past mistakes and do things differently. If you find yourself confused by Jesus’ words, and hurt by what others say, maybe you can begin pausing before reacting. Maybe you can give yourself the chance to see things from a different perspective.

As you do, I think you will find you will react to JesusMP900399830[1] less like the Jews of his day, who turned their backs on him, and more like his disciples, who drew closer to him. You will also find your reactions to what others say becomes more loving, and in the end much more Christ honoring!

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