If you are wondering what’s wrong with teenagers, adults, society or the world in general, you are not alone. There are hundreds out there who ask those same questions and hundreds more who claim to know the reasons why. Do some research and you can find all kinds of opinions, statistics and psychological reasons on the internet, tv, newspapers and books. The problem is, the ones who claim to know the reasons why the world is a mess are also a part of …well, the same world. Often when these questions are being asked, there is an added word at the end. The word is ‘today’. So you hear questions like,
“What’s wrong with the youth today?”
“What’s wrong with society today?”
“What’s wrong with the world today?”
Have you noticed the peculiarity? These same questions, with the added word ‘today’, have been asked over and over again over scores of years. Yet, the world has changed. Society has changed in many ways and in many countries as well. This begs the question, ‘What hasn’t changed?’
While there may be several answers to that question, there was one answer in particular that came to me this morning during my quiet time. It is something that is one of the major causes of contention in any given relationship. It is that human beings are not always good givers, receivers or conduits when it comes to communicating. We are all constantly misinterpreting, miscommunicating and misrepresenting one another and what follows is sometimes the laughable statement we sometimes make such as,
“You don’t make any sense!” or “You’re talking in riddles.”
which is often answered in denial.
Jesus is probably one of the most misunderstood and misinterpreted individual in history. His words were misunderstood then and they are misunderstood now. I can’t help thinking that perhaps when Jesus spoke plainly, his words led to confusion. Maybe that is why he chose to speak in parables, not to confuse, but to help people to understand the deeper meaning of things. This makes arguing about religion ridiculous. None of us can say we know what Jesus was trying to say about everything. The only clear thing for sure was his love.
I believe that most relationships can be transformed into peaceful, respectful relationships when we truly work hard and patiently at understanding each other. Yes, there are things which can get in the way and reasons why you need to keep your distance from some individuals. However, there are some relationships which are unavoidable such as family members or those you work with. There are other relationships which are worth salvaging because it normally works but something went temporarily awry during a conversation one day. Then there are some relationships which are so great, they are worth nurturing.
In order to improve your relationship with someone, you need to keep the channels of communication open by relinquishing the belief that someone has to be right within a discussion. The truth is, sometimes it is not possible to work out who is right and other times it’s just we’re not clearly understanding what the other person is saying. It is better to honor their beliefs, listen with empathy and to have an open mind (you never know, you might learn something). If it is a case that it is important to get your point across, due so with clarity and respect. Don’t talk over them and give them the chance to respond.
After you have had ample time to practice respectful, open-minded communication, you might find that you have an all new appreciation for people’s uniqueness. You might even find that ‘loving your neighbour’ has become effortless.