This morning, we’re launching a new message series entitled, “Understand” where we’re learning just how powerful and critically important understanding truly is. This series begins our year-long focus and vision to be connected.
I’m a firm believer that communication is never a problem for us in any relationship. Communication is not a problem in marriages, friendships, parenting, spiritual growth, or even workplace relationships. We communicate constantly both verbally and nonverbally. It is simply what we were created to do and we can’t stop doing it.
What is a problem for us when it comes to relationships is understanding. I can hear someone and not truly hear what they are saying. I can see what somebody does and not truly understand what they are doing. In fact, two people can say the exact same thing and mean two entirely different things.
“I have nothing to wear.”
A man means that all of his clothes are dirty, a woman means that she needs a new outfit.
A man means that the argument is finished and we’re moving on from it, a woman means that nothing is resolved and that the conversation will continue later.
“Clean your room.”
Parents mean to put everything where it belongs, kids mean to shove everything out of sight so that it looks clean.
“Let’s head to bed.”
Well, I won’t go into details on this one…
This is why understanding becomes a foundational issue when it comes to being connected with God, family, and the world. Connecting and understanding go hand in hand. If I don’t understand someone, I will never truly be able to connect with them and if I don’t connect with someone, I will never truly be able to understand them.
The truth is that we do not need to completely understand someone to connect with them. In reality, we connect with someone in order to gain a better understanding about them. We connect with God, with each other, and with the world around us in order to be able to understand them.
The truth is that we do not need to understand someone to connect with them. In reality, we connect with someone in order to gain a better understanding about them. We connect with God, with each other, and with the world around us in order to gain understanding.
We all have felt the painful result of not understanding. Perhaps it was:
– A recipe not followed correctly
– Doing a job wrong causing costly damage
– A car accident in a construction zone
– Letting down your spouse when they assign you a task
– Failing a test
– Getting lost while driving
– A relationship torn apart
Not understanding is a root cause for so many issues that we encounter in life. This is just as true when it comes to connecting with God. It is completely possible for us to accurately hear God’s voice, but to misunderstand Him. In fact, this happened often and actually intentionally when it came to the teachings of Jesus. He hid powerful revelations of His Kingdom in plain sight and spoke them boldly and clearly to all people. How did He do this? Parables.
We often hear taught that Jesus spoke in parables so that simple people could understand what He was teaching. We are taught that He did it to make complex truths easy to grasp. This isn’t actually true at all, though. Jesus told us why He chose parables here:
10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”
11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:
“Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
15 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’
16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.
Then I love what happens next. Although Jesus just said that his disciples truly saw and heard his message, He obviously knew that they truly didn’t. Why do I say this? Because Jesus then went only to clearly explain the meaning of the parable to them.
Jesus didn’t speak a lie about them, He just simply spoke prophetically. After the Day of Pentecost, this word became true as they then saw, heard, and understood. Many times Jesus became irritated and frustrated with the lack of understanding of His disciples before this time. Through parables, Jesus leveraged our lack of understanding to hide life-tranforming revelation in plain sight.
As Jesus reminded us from the prophecy of Isaiah found in chapter six, it is possible for us to hear others, but not truly hear. It is possible for us to see others actions, but never truly see. How does this happen? It happens when our hearts become hardened or calloused toward them. We simply cannot understand someone if our hearts are hardened toward them; including God. We will make many assumptions that we believe to be true, but not actually understand.
Just how powerful is understanding? God said that if we come together with a common understanding, nothing that we plan will be impossible for us! Again, just in case you missed how significant and powerful this truly is… God said that nothing that we plan will be impossible for us if we come together with a common understanding.
How do we remove this hardening of our hearts toward God or others? This can only happen by giving our hearts fully to God. A hardened heart cannot be healed nor repaired; it must be replaced. God said over and over again through the prophet Ezekiel:
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
As we fully surrender our hearts to God, he will replace it and give us a heart capable of not only hearing and seeing others, but also most importantly understanding them.
Understanding, In fact, it is such a powerful thing that God stepped down out of Heaven down to the Earth just to see this thing that the people joined together to do when they possessed it. He just had to see it for Himself in person.
3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. 6 The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
8 So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel – because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.
God said that nothing that we plan will be impossible for us if we come together with a common understanding. If we choose to connect with God, with each other, and with the world around us with the intent to gain an understanding of them, nothing will be impossible for us. It takes a lot for us to get God’s attention to the degree that He steps down from Heaven to the earth to see for Himself. One people speaking the same language, understanding each other, did exactly this.
Let us resolve and commit to do exactly this. Let us resolve and commit to be one people; the children of God, united by one Holy Spirit, understanding God, understanding each other, and understanding the world around us.
1 I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Only when we seek to understand will we truly see with our eyes, hear with our ears, understand with our hearts and have God heal us. He will heal our hurts, heal our relationships, heal our bodies, heal our emotions, heal our thinking, heal our finances, heal whatever it is that we need Him to heal. Let us connect with God, each other, and the world around us with the intent to understand them.
We’ll unravel this further in the upcoming weeks as this message series progresses.