The Problem is NOT Miscommunication


Today (Thursday) is a sick day at the Zieglers. Linda, Erica, Brock and I all have the stomach flu. We got it from Madison. Thank you very much Sweetie Pie!

So Brock and I were sitting in our living room reading and Brock had his music playing and as I’m listening to the lyrics to the song, I thought, “That doesn’t sound good.” So I said to Brock, “What kind of song is that? ‘I want you to pull my britches down’?”

“What? No Dad, it’s, ‘I want you to burn my bridges down!’”

I guess I didn’t exactly hear the words right. But now, I guarantee it, every time you hear, Burning Bridges by OneRepublic, you’re going to hear it the way I did. Sorry.

But here’s the thing. We do that all the time. We hear things wrong. We misunderstand what people say. We misread facial expressions and vocal tones. And then after that misunderstanding, we often jump to conclusions and make judgements, get upset, and injure relationships. Then, when we finally talk it out, we blame it on “miscommunication.”

But miscommunication is not really the problem. That’s always going to happen. Everyone mishears, misspeaks, misunderstands, but not everyone gets offended or into fights and arguments over those things.

The real problem is jumping to conclusions, making judgements and getting offended.

The real problem is not miscommunication. It’s jumping to conclusions, making judgements, getting offended.

If we always gave people the benefit of the doubt and put the best construction on even those things that seem offensive, we’d all be better off.

Try it in your marriage. You’ll be surprised how you can improve your life just by giving your husband the benefit of the doubt instead of jumping to conclusions and getting upset. The best relationships are had by those who habitually look for and think the best. The worst are with those who habitually look for and think the worst.

Try it at work. You’ll find that work becomes a lot more fulfilling and enjoyable when you overlook apparent offenses and chalk up the problem to your own misunderstanding and choose to believe that affronts are not intentional.

In other words, refusing to make judgements that you can’t fairly make anyway, and instead, choosing to think the best of others while working to build unity, minimizes the negative effects of miscommunication. Then, when someone misspeaks or mishears, you have the opportunity to show the love and grace of Jesus in a unique way.

And you can also get the laugh that all of us did over my mishearing of what is actually a good song.

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2 Responses to The Problem is NOT Miscommunication

  1. Linda G November 20, 2014 at 5:13 pm #

    Another poignant message Pastor Scott! So sorry to hear you & family are under the weather, but it hasn’t stopped your excellent observations!

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I have 1st hand experience in jumping to conclusions and I’m still feeling the consequences.

    While at a job that was a very poor fit, and full of conflict, another Manager emailed me completeIy out of the blue, telling me I was being moved under his direction immediately with different responsibilities. His email was very brusk, with no explanation. I completely misunderstood. I thought I was in trouble.

    Instead of stepping back, engaging God, being patient, I immediately questioned the manager who wrote me & my manager. They both said they’d get back to me, but they didn’t. The position was awarded to another employee and two months later my position was eliminated.

    You’re right. This wasn’t a misunderstandin. It was a very painful consequence for jumping to a very wrong conclusion.

    Linda G.

  2. Pastor Scott Ziegler November 23, 2014 at 7:48 am #

    Thanks for sharing that Linda. I’m sure it is a painful memory/lesson. Thanks for letting the rest of us learn from it as well.

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