Sunday, July 11, 2021

Misunderstandings & Faith That God Will Guide Us Through

by Martin Wiles @LinesFromGod

What she got wasn’t what she wanted. 

My wife and a couple of her lady friends love to visit a local restaurant for breakfast once or twice a week. I don’t care for the establishment. In fact, my bad experiences became so numerous that the only way I could ever visit was to do so with “no expectations.” After all, if I don’t expect anything, I can’t be disappointed. Going with this attitude also prevented me from getting a bad attitude when things didn’t go my way—which happened on every visit. 

But back to the story. As I prepared for a day of teaching, my wife sent a picture of what her friend had received when she ordered a grilled sausage and cheese sandwich. I marveled at the photo, but wasn’t surprised. The cook had cut the sandwich in half. One half held sausage and cheese on toasted bread. The other half was a plain grilled cheese sandwich. 

As an English teacher, I understood how this could have happened. But had I been the customer, I’m sure I wouldn’t have. Had the server wrote a grilled sausage and a cheese sandwich on the ticket, the article “a” could have confused the cook, making him think the customer wanted two different sandwiches. But if the waitress didn’t include the article, the cook should have known the customer wanted only one sandwich. 

Having seen, and written, tickets for cooks before, I know a little of the lingo—lingo the cook should have known. Regardless, the cook misunderstood, and my wife’s friend wasn’t happy. And she surely wasn’t ecstatic when later a roach ran across their table, leading the manager to give them a free meal. 

Paul knew a little about being misunderstood. “You may be asking why I changed my plan. Do you think I make my plans carelessly? Do you think I am like people of the world who say ‘Yes’ when they really mean ‘No’” (2 Corinthians 1:17 NLT)?

In this case, Paul’s Plan A had entailed leaving Ephesus, crossing the Aegean Sea, and going directly to Corinth where he planned to help the Corinthians work out some church problems. Before returning to Corinth, he planned to visit a few other churches. 

But Plan A didn’t materialize, so Paul resorted to Plan B, which entailed only one visit  to Corinth. As difficult as travel and communication were in this time, it seems childish that the Corinthians would misunderstand his intentions and accuse him of being fickle and unreliable—but some di d. 
Of course, our intentions are at stake—and they should be honorable. But no matter how hard we try, others will misunderstand us sometimes. It’s one of those inevitable things in life we must deal with. And when we’re misunderstood, some won’t care to hear our explanation as we attempt to straighten out the misunderstanding. Paul pled with those who misunderstood him to hear his heart, but I’m sure some didn’t care to hear his explanation. 

The good news is, some will hear and forgive. Some will see our heart and offer their understanding and forgiveness. Relationships will heal. 

Regardless of whether the misunderstanding is smoothed over or not, our part entails keeping our word in the first place. Being honest. Especially when it comes to spiritual matters. And when the inevitable misunderstanding happens—and our efforts aren’t good enough to straighten things out—we must put the matter in God’s hands. Even Jesus was misunderstood…many times. 

Expect life to hold misunderstandings but have faith that God will guide you through them.


Martin Wiles is the founder of Love Lines from God ( and serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions, Senior Editor for Inspire a Fire, and Proof Editor for Courier Publishing. He has authored six books and has been published in numerous publications. His most recent book, A Whisper in the Woods: Quiet Escapes in a Busy World, released in December 2019. He is a freelance editor, English teacher, author, and pastor.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this insightful post, Martin. One of the nice things I find about writing for publication is that I can take the time to polish and hone my work until it says what I intended. On the other hand, conversation, texts, emails, etc. are fertile ground for misunderstandings.