Communication. It’s a tricky thing.
It has gotten increasingly more so with the explosion of social media. We no longer depend as much on body language and tone of voice to interpret what people are saying to us. Instead, we read words, just words. Well, words with the occasional emoticon. 😋
This kind of communication is harder for me. I am an emotional person. Reserved sometimes, but emotional. I don’t mean that I cry all the time (although, I certainly have my days), but rather, I’m enthusiastic.
If someone texts me about family trouble, I wish I could send a real hug in my reply. If someone texts me about a new job, I wish I could send a high pitched excited squeal in my reply. I wish I could text “good morning” with a genuine smile that lights up the eyes. (With technology these days, I suppose I could send a selfie with every text, but my friends and even family might get tired of that.)
I find myself tempted to add emoticons to every message I send to help communicate my tone.
Then, of course, I’m plagued with options. Do I choose the smiley face with closed eyes? Or the one with open eyes? Should I go with the open-mouthed grin or the tongue-out smile? What do I really want to communicate? Will the person I’m texting think I’m happy? Or elated? Or silly happy? Or mildly pleasant?
So many options.
Really, the indecision or compassion or excitement in my eyes would say it better. But even then, there’s room for interpretation errors.
And I worry about those errors.
At best, it is an annoyance. But it can cause relational indecision and uncertainty. The bacteria of this miscommunication grows and grows under the radar. It’s like mold in a closed plastic container.
You try to ignore it. But eventually, you have to deal with it. The stench of growing miscommunication is so repellent that sometimes we prefer to throw out the container (and the friendship). It is easier than washing it. We think it will be better to toss the whole thing.
But, after a time, we miss that container. It was the perfect container for leftovers, not too big, not too small. We wish we had just opened it and dealt with the mold.
Ironically, much of my miscommunication is self-perceived. I have felt sick to my stomach about friendships that were going well just because I worried that the other person misunderstood my comments and disliked me for it.
A little while ago, I attended a sermon about heaven. The line I remember is that there will be “no remembrance of sin”. None. I can’t even imagine what it would be like not to even remember sin.
The sermon came on the tail of a week of tense communication. I’d been trying to figure some things out via texting. I never knew if I was offending the other person or if they could see my heart. I was worried that my words were causing more tension.
After hearing this sermon, I thought about what heaven might mean for communication.
Truthfully, I don’t know. But, maybe it means that we’ll always speak clearly and be able to communicate our thoughts and intentions flawlessly. Or maybe we’ll still speak differently, but have the capacity to understand each other’s intentions fully.
In a place where former troubles are forgotten (Isaiah 65:16), where there is no crying or pain (Revelation 21:4), I can’t imagine people will be agonizing over whether someone understood what they were trying to say as it was intended.
I think there will be something very special about heavenly communication.
In the meantime, I’ll try to put myself in your shoes, to better understand your perspective. I’ll keep praying to see others with God’s eyes, and trusting that He is the One I need to please above all others. And, of course…😮😊😃😄😉😍😬😧😀
Wishing you a great day!