|Image Source: 3rd-strike|
I love playing board-games (If that came as a surprise to you then we obviously haven't seen each other in a while!)
I was recently introduced to a party-style game called Codenames which is quickly becoming one of my favourites.
The game is set-up with 25 random words on a board in front of all the players. The aim of the game is for one player - the spymaster - to help his team members say certain words by giving them one related word as a clue. The team is rewarded for guessing correct words and punished for incorrect words. If a spymaster does their job correctly, they could link 3 or 4 words with one single clue.
I am not sure if my explanation does the game much justice, but I would highly recommend that you play this game if you enjoy (mostly) friendly rivalry with family and friends.
The difficulty in Codenames occurs when the spymaster is on a completely different line of thought to the other members on their team. They might be completely justified in their reasoning for the clue they provide, but if the other team-members are not on the same wave-length, a serious miscommunication can occur and chaos can ensue.
This game has reminded me of how often we experience communication breakdowns in our lives. Why is this the case?
I believe that it is largely because we are quick to jump to our own conclusions about what others are trying to say.
Sometimes, instead of presuming to understand the exact meaning of a person's words, we should first dig a little deeper and consider the person's true intentions in what they said.
This is even more important when we consider Jesus' words found in Scripture.
It is crucial that we spend time and effort interpreting scripture, but we need to be very careful about jumping to conclusions and presuming that our interpretation is the only true reading of a text.
When approaching a text, if we are wary of our own preconceived beliefs about God and the Bible, we can better ensure that we don't adapt the meaning of a text to suit our own beliefs.
In other words, let us not go to scripture expecting to already know what we are going to find. Let's go with the desire to truly discover what God is trying to say to us through the text.
If we are aware of our own preconceptions when entering into conversation (whether with scripture or people) then there is a better chance for us to truly understand what the other person is meaning by their words.
When we take this approach, we begin to ask better questions, we begin to listen before we speak and we begin to seek the true meaning of a person's words, instead of presuming that we already know the answers.
"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry."
- James 1:19 (NIV)