Sunday, April 26, 2009

Too Many Words, Too Little Understanding, To the Wrong People

I wish that I always fully appreciated the proverb of Qohelet: "As a dream comes when there are many cares, so the speech of a fool when there are many words" (Eccl 5:3). The number of bad dreams you have is directly proportional to the number of worries you've got. Like that, the number of boneheaded comments you'll make is directly proportional to the number of words you say.

Some of the most foolish comments I've ever made, I made to people about other people when I didn't really understand what the other people had done. I had failed to remember the significance of two other proverbs, "He who answers before listening--that is his folly and his shame" (Prov. 18:13); and "The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him" (Prov 18:17). When I have talked first, and have talked without listening, I've said some pretty dumb things. Sorry about that.

Most often in my life, this happens when I talk with someone among my friends, my family, my co-workers, and my church about someone else instead of talking to the person about whom I am talking. In other words, I'm telling Jimmy what Sally did instead of talking to Sally about what I'd heard she did. That's foolish according to the proverbs and the more I do it only increases the number of foolish words I say. It also flies in the face of what Jesus commanded, "…go to him privately and show him his fault" (Matthew 18:15).

Let's all do a better job of talking with each other, confronting each other in love, understanding each other, forgiving each other where we need to, but dwelling together in unity. That's such a beautiful thing – and the first thing that happens to turn our relationship ugly often is too many words with too little understanding, spoken to the wrong people. That's Life at Work!

No comments: