As much time as we spend working, and as many emails as we send out, we are bound to be misunderstood once in a while. Emails are particularly risky.
If you participate in any online chats, forums, or other discussions, you may also have encountered a misunderstanding or two.
Why is this? What makes emails and the like so high risk? How do we need to respond?
Most people are in a hurry. Email comes in. We delete the spam, and sort the rest. If we take too long, we could easily be hours into the day before we get done with the email.
In an attempt to get things done, we reply to many of them with a short, to the point, extremely direct answer. The closer we feel to the person we are directing it to, the more direct we reply. Formalities and pleasantries are tossed aside. If we are used to online status updates, that 140 or so characters we’re allotted really encourages brief to the point conversations.
Direct and to the point is not the best way to approach everyone and everything. Body language is not easily conveyed in an email. That text wink or smiley face doesn’t always come across as friendly as face-to-face. The next thing you know, someone will be offended. The next face-to-face you have could be a challenge.
When you are confronted, take advantage of a pause. During that pause, listen to what is really being said. Most folks won’t come at you in a huff unless they feel they are under attack. When they verbally attack you, stop and listen with your heart.
We tend to become defensive. When we are talking, we are not listening. We are not thinking. We may not be guilty of intentionally doing anything, but we may have unintentionally hurt the other person. What you are being accused of may not be real, but it is the reality of the person doing the accusing.
Unless you act in love, you will not convey your true intentions. Unless you listen to them first, you will not see their pain, and you will not be able to love them where they are emotionally. You won’t be able to acknowledge their feelings or find any common ground.
When you pause and extend grace to the person accusing you, you give them the freedom to tell you why they are upset. You leave the door open to communicate with them. Once you understand them, you will be able to respond in a way that ministers to their needs.
And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
1 Peter 4:8-10
Key Focal Verse:
Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt thee. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
Today’s challenge is to wrap your mind around grace and charity. Charity or love covers a multitude of sins. When you love another enough to let them misstep without getting offended, you are extending grace and love.