Summary: Biblical examples of negative communication patterns to avoid.
TRAP #1: "Take my side without hearing both sides."
"Then Haman said to King Xerxes, ’There is a certain group of people scattered among the other people in all the states of your kingdom. Their customs are different from those of all the other people, and they do not obey the king’s laws. It is not right for you to allow them to continue living in your kingdom. If it pleases the king, let an order be give to destroy these people. Then I will pay seven hundred fifty thousand pounds of silver to those who do the king’s business, and they will put it into the royal treasury.’" Esther 3:8-9 (NCV)
Haman was angry with a Jew named Mordecai (Queen Esther’s uncle) for not bowing to him. Of course Mordecai would not bow to anyone but God.
In his arrogant anger Haman paints a hateful and dishonest and distorted picture of all Jews to the Persian King Xerxes as part of a plot to annihilate the Jews. (Many of Haman’s sort would follow throughout world history.)
The king is perhaps flattered and motivated by the promise of a great sum of money to adopt Haman’s evil plan without even considering the other side to the story.
This trap is still used today.
Be careful of listening and agreeing with others without hearing the other side of the story.
TRAP #2: "It’s not just me - others are critical of you too!"
"A report is going around to all the nations, and Gesham says its true, that you and the Jewish people are planning to turn against the king and that you are rebuilding the wall. They say you are going to be their king and that you have appointed prophets to announce in Jerusalem, ’There is a king of Judah!’ The king will hear about this. So come, let’s discuss this together.’" Nehemiah 6:6-7 (NCV)
Nehemiah’s enemies tried repeatedly to keep him from rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem because it would adversely affect their business dealings. They would no longer have the corner on the market if the city regained its commerical status.
These enemies were not moved by concern for true spiritual advancement. Their motivations were selfishly greedy.
Insecure people often feel threatened by legitimate and worthwhile changes, and in order to get their way will resort to subterfuge.
Nehemiah didn’t fall for it and we shouldn’t either. If I am doing what God called me to do I need not be sidetracked by the mechanizations of distorted communications.
TRAP #3: "Please talk openly to me now so I can secretly twist your words later."
"The teachers of the law and the leading priests wanted to arrest Jesus at once...But they were afraid of what the people would do. So they watched Jesus and sent spies who acted as if they were sincere. They wanted to trap Jesus in saying something wrong so they could hand him over to the authority and power of the governor." Luke 20:19-20 (NCV)
When people are looking for something critical to say about someone they won’t have to look far because we all say dumb things sometimes. Jesus however never sinned in his communication, yet still His critics tried to twist His words.
Be cautious of how much information you reveal to someone with an axe to grind.
TRAP #4: "If you take my side there will be something in it for you."
"Then the devil led Jesus to the top of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and all their splendor. The devil said, ’If you will bow down and worship me, I will give you all these things.’ Jesus said to the devil, ’Go away from me, Satan! It is written, You must worship the Lord your God and serve only Him.’" Matthew 4:8-9 (NCV)
We must value the truth above the trinkets we are offered along with the distortion of those who would dissuade us from doing God’s will. They often don’t even have the right to offer what they say they do.
TRAP #5: "Let me embellish and exxagerate my story to prove my hopeless outlook."
"And those men gave the Israelites a bad report about the land they explored, saying, ’The land that we explored is too large to conquer. All the people we saw are very tall. We saw the Nephalim there.’ (The Anakites come from the Nephilim people.) ’We felt like grasshoppers, and we looked like grasshoppers to them.’" Numbers 13:32-33 (NCV)
God had already promised the land to the Israelites but ten of the twelve spies (all but Joshua and Caleb) reported negatively about the prospect of victory.
Why believe exxagerations of negative thinking people when we have the promises of God!
Be aware that these traps exist and do not fall for them!