Summary: Everyone has been misunderstood at one time or another. This sermon seeks to help us to "Hang in there" when that happens.
Few things are more difficult to live with than being misunderstood. Sometimes it’s downright unbearable.
When you are misunderstood, you have no defense. And have you noticed that when you are misunderstood, no matter how hard you try to correct the misunderstanding, it usually get worse? You go fully loaded, ready to “set them straight,” and all you do is dig yourself deeper! The harder you work, the worse it gets and the deeper it hurts. Its sting can be paralyzing.
How do we analyze misunderstanding.
First of all there is an innocent act, or word spoken, or an implication which causes the misunderstanding. What makes it so painful is, most of the time this is done innocently.
Very innocently we do something, or say something, or imply something that is misunderstood and mistakenly interpreted.
As a result of that word, act or implication there is an offense created. You don’t have to mean anything by it, but it was misread and an offense was created.
There was a revival going on. The evangelist was a warm, gracious man. He always had a kind word for everyone. As he was walking with the pastor through the church parking lot there sat a Cadillac. In that Cadillac there was a man who was a paraplegic. He was able to drive that Cadillac because of some special equipment that had been provided by the government. All he saw was a Cadillac and a man sitting in it. So he walked up, slapped the side of the car with his hand and said, “Boy, this sure beats walking, doesn’t it?” He didn’t mean anything by it. He was simply speaking a word of greeting, but it was an offense. Innocently done. Nothing that would have provoked a negative response in other situation, but in this instance it became an offense.
We are talking about living through misunderstandings. Let me show you a man in the Scriptures who was misunderstood. Look with me at 1 Samuel 18:5-9 READ
David had just finished killing off Goliath, the giant. It’s not something you do every day.
He was just a boy. There were professional soldiers around who couldn’t do anything about the giant. But David, in the power of God, with a sling shot and a handful of smooth stones, killed Goliath.
Now Samuel had already his head with oil and said you are going to be king. He had already announced to his father, “Your son, David, is going to be king.” But learning how to be king also meant learning how to deal with misunderstanding. For you see, Saul, the current king, was a threatened, insecure kind of man. If you ever worked for a man or woman like Saul, you understand what David faced. The slightest irritation caused an enormous sense of insecurity in Saul. As they are coming back from the battle, David has killed Goliath and has put the battle behind him for the day. The women gathered from all the communities and they were in the streets singing with joy and gladness, banging tambourines, playing musical instruments, and they begin shouting,
“Saul has slain His thousands,
And David his ten thousands.”
Oh boy! Saul heard that. It wasn’t just the 9,000 difference that bothered Saul. But he began to think about what was being said. He began to think, “This young man is out to get my job.” He was threatened by him. He said, “What more can he want but the kingdom itself.” And he began to keep an eye on David from that day forward.
You see the slightest irritation created a large amount of insecurity in Saul. David had slain his giant and as they were coming back from the battle the women innocently said something that caused David to be misunderstood. Notice the exaggeration! David wasn’t looking for a kingdom. He just woke up one morning and killed a giant. Saul seeing not only David’s courage, but his popularity, misunderstood him. An innocent and courageous act was incorrectly interpreted so that deep down in Saul’s heart, he was convinced that David was out to get the throne.
Turn with me to Psalm 140. Most Old Testament scholars believe this Psalm was written in response to David’s concern about Saul and his threat. Note how he begins. “Rescue me, O Lord, from evil men; Preserve me from violent men.” You realize he is on the run.
He has to be. Saul has misunderstood him. Saul sees him as an enemy.
The fact was he was not an enemy. He was the musician for the king. He wanted to serve him. But Saul was haunted by what he thought David was after. So in his madness, in his unwillingness to understand, he began to give David a hard time.