who shall prepare himself to the battle?"For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound,
I heard this particular Scripture on Sunday. I don't think that I ever noticed it before, but it made so much sense to me. Sometimes it is so hard for others to understand us. It seems as if, no matter what we say, they understand only what they want too. The actual meanings of our words are lost inside their heads. The trumpet of our speech makes an uncertain sound in their ears. In everything we do, we must find the way to speak clearly. We must make sure that we are not only heard, but that we are understood.
It is easy to be offended by words. I have learned it is especially easy to be offended when we think that we have a grudge to hold, or we are unforgiving or unrepentant toward others or even ourselves. But I have also learned that being offended is a choice. It is an action word. It is not something that just happens to us, we choose to let it.
That is the hard part, learning that it is our choice to take offence. We want it to be someone else's problem. We want it to be someone else's fault. We want to judge someone else as "the person wearing the black hat", or the person who is less worthy. Instead, we need to look inside ourselves and find what it is that makes us offended. What it is that is giving off the uncertain sound in our own minds?
Now, I am not saying that there is never a time when someone is trying to offend you. That my friends, seems to happen all to often. People get angry, they get hurt, they say things that they don't think about and don't always mean. I wish that everyone of us could be just a little kinder to those around us; just a little less willing to pass judgement and condemnation; just a little more concerned with thinking things through before we speak.
There is an old saying that goes something like,
"I know you think you understood what it was you thought you heard me say, but I am telling you that what you think you heard is not what I meant".
I wish I could count the number of times that I have inserted my own foot in my mouth and said something that I regret. Or even worse, the number of times that someone has not understood what I meant.
I know that I can't change being hurt, sometimes, that just happens, and I can't change what anyone else thinks about me or feels about me, but I can my willingness to be offended and my willingness to forgive, even if they don't ask it of me. I can change my own heart. And that will make all the difference.