The "Ten Commendments"
"Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'"1
I recently received an email in French requesting a copy of the "Ten Commendments." As I can't read French, I used the Google online translator to read this person's request. When translating online, sometimes the words can come out rather funny. For instance, when I asked Google to translate, "The cat sat on the mat" into French it read, "Le chat s'est reposé sur la natte." But when I asked Google to translate this back into English it read, "The cat rested on the plait." And then when I checked the word "plait" in my computer Thesaurus it said, "ponytail." So "The cat sat on the mat" ended up as "The cat rested on the ponytail."
Jokes aside, it's understandable that this can happen when translating online from one language to another, but the same thing happens very easily when communicating in person in the same language—especially between parents and children, husbands and wives.
Effective communication should be one of many "commendments" because so many misunderstandings and broken relationships are caused by mis-communications and/or misunderstood communications.
One of the challenges in communication is that we see and hear things, and will even read into things, on the basis of how we feel about ourselves, and on the bases of unresolved issues from past significant relationships.
If I am a very insecure, super-sensitive person, the slightest negative comment can send me into an emotional tailspin. Furthermore, if I didn't get along with my mother [or father, sister, or brother], and you say or do something that reminds me of my mother, it's going to push my "mother [or whichever] button" and I will overreact way out of proportion to what you said or did. And you are going to be left wondering what on earth is happening to me. Then we get into the battle of: "You said" … "did not." "Yes you did"… "No I didn't" … "Did" … "Didn't…." And the vicious cycle continues and escalates.
As healthy relationships are vital to healthy living, learning to communicate effectively needs to be a top priority. There are many helpful tips on how we can learn to do this besides learning to hear what is not being said, but the bottom line is that we need to resolve all past impaired significant relationships so our hot buttons don't get pushed, and that we grow in maturity so we overcome our insecurities.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to see and resolve any and all impaired relationships and grow in maturity so that I can learn to love and accept myself in a healthy manner and not overreact to what others say or do to me. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Matthew 5:37 (NIV).