Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas
The worst distance between two people is misunderstanding. Unknown
We all make mistakes in life and some of them will impact our lives in big ways. Listening to Pastor Mark Hughes of Church of the Rock yesterday he told the story of twin brothers who were left their father’s hardware store. One day one of them sold an item for one dollar but he didn’t put it in the cash register he left it on the counter. When he came back to the front of the store the dollar was gone. He accused his brother of stealing it. The brother said, “I didn’t see a dollar on the front counter.”
This went on with each thinking they were right until they weren’t speaking to each other. They put tape down the middle of the store, put a cash register on each side of the store, and didn’t speak to each other for twenty years.
One day a man came into the store and said, “I’d like to speak to you two gentlemen. Twenty years ago, I was down and out and I saw a dollar on the counter and I took it. I’ve recently turned my life around and I’d like to make amends by giving you back your dollar.” He handed them a dollar. The two brothers embraced and cried the answer to the mystery now known, but they wasted twenty years.
On Dr. Phil the other day he had a couple on. The husband is accusing his wife of sleeping with three presidents, Obama, Trump, and Biden plus 97 other men. She says he is the only man she has ever been with. Dr. Phil said to the man, “I believe, you believe what you are saying. I also believe what your wife says is true.”
How do we handle things when we know for sure something is true and the other person is adamant we are wrong? Do we not speak to them for twenty years, get a divorce, or try to find an answer that makes sense?
When nails grow long, we cut nails not fingers. Similarly when misunderstandings grow up, cut your ego, not your relationships. Unknown
The problem in the hardware store was not so much the missing dollar as the brother’s refusal to believe his brother didn’t steal it. In the couple’s case, the wife is trying to get help for her delusional husband, who up until this point has been a good husband and father, they have a baby in the hospital with heart problems. She is hoping Dr. Phil and others can get to the root of his delusion and she can get her husband back.
That is an extreme case and of course, we all got a laugh when we heard he thinks she’s slept with three presidents which shows how delusional he is. But, we have many situations that may arise where we or someone else believe things, but they aren’t the way we think they are. We took offense to something that wasn’t meant. We heard or understood something that wasn’t meant the way we heard or understood it. We are willing to believe the worst instead of the best possible explanation.
How many relationships are ruined because of misunderstandings, misinterpretations of events, words, or situations? Even if we forgive someone for what we think they did, can they forgive us for thinking they did it?
Can we find dignity in what we know to be true even if people don’t believe we are virtuous, honest, and fair-minded? Can we not let our dignity get in the way of the relationship? If there is an answer can we look for it, can we at least be open to there being an explanation that isn’t just we are right and the other person is wrong?
A single moment of misunderstanding is so poisonous, that it makes us forget the hundred lovable moments spent together within a minute. Unknown
Misunderstandings, if left unsolved, will push people so far apart that they might never come together again. Unknown
And I have again observed, my dear friend, in this trifling affair, that misunderstandings and neglect occasion more mischief in the world than even malice and wickedness. At all events, the two latter are of less frequent occurrence. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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