During the morning, I performed some mindless cleaning and straightening of a supply closet. Also, I listened to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as she testified before the Senate. Later, in the afternoon, I met in a strategy meeting with a co-worker and friend regarding changes that need to take place in our ministry.
In both incidences, I came away fascinated with the levels of communication that we all demonstrate. Secretary Clinton shyly accepted the compliments of the Senators and Congressmen. She choked with emotion as she recalled meeting the plane with the President to bring home the dead bodies of the four men murdered on 9/11/2012. She angrily beat the table with her fists in response to a question poised by a Republican Senator.
Later, at our strategy meeting, some of the same emotions surfaced. While emotions are an important part of our personalities, I wonder how often these necessary power-charged expressions become the villain. Emotions often keep us from saying the things we mean. Even worse emotions hinder our being able to communicate the things which need to be said.
Wedged between these events, I’d attended a Webinar explaining the appeals process in the State of Florida. As I listened to three lawyers explain how to prepare and present a case in an appeals hearing, the application demonstrated by Mrs. Clinton and the Senators was shockingly evident.
Mrs. Clinton was prepared for every question. She accepted responsibility while denying all knowledge or the ability to make adjustments which could have saved the lives of our Ambassador and the other three men. The Senators did not understand the events as clearly as she. They were scattered and disjointed. However, neither the Senators nor Mrs. Clinton presented the kind of information needed by the American public regarding the Benghazi murders.
Mrs. Clinton was pleasantly evasive. The Democrats were obliging and congratulatory, more focused on letting people know how much they loved and appreciated the Secretary of State than participating in the Republican “witch hunt.” Almost all Republican Senators showed controlled anger and a need to get their individual point across.
There was no request for a narrative regarding the timeline of the events. The information needed and wanted by the US public was not presented. I could sit, listening and understand all the mistakes made by these women and men as I took mental notes during the Webinar on the appeals process.
However, after the Webinar was over and I merged into a strategy meeting, I repeated all the mistakes I’d earlier recognized in others. Setting aside my mind, I let my emotions rule the decision and processing of future needs. I spoke emotionally, not logically.
Saying what we mean is much harder than we often recognize. It takes discipline. There must be preparation. However, most of all, we must say what we mean–not what we feel.
In writing to the Romans, Paul was emotionally involved and those emotions are evident throughout his presentation. However, he did not allow his emotions over rule his presenting to the Roman church and to us a concise and valuable summary of God’s salvation plan. He does not deviate from the primary message. We are saved by God’s grace and only by his grace. Our works must be an outgrowth of our love for the Lord, demonstrating the mercy and grace of our Father.
Because the mentally challenged community is not able to communicate at a mature level, it often becomes our responsibility to give voice to their needs and hurts. It is important that we not only understand our members. We must also make advocate for them in a prayerful and concise way, saying what we mean not what we feel.