Lost in Translation
By Jodi Whisenhunt –
I say to my teenager: “Work on your biology project.”
He hears: “Muwha muwha muwha muwha muwha.” The lingo of Charlie Brown’s teacher.
I say to his little sister: “Sleep in your own bed all night long.”
She hears: “Lock yourself in the torture chamber!” Followed by evil laughter.
I say to her little brother: “Please clean up your toys.”
He hears: “Scatter everything across the floor.” Why not? Carpet covers the floor.
Clearly, I speak a different language than my children do. I speak Parent. They speak Child. Or maybe I speak Dictator and they speak Rebel. I haven’t quite figured out what the names are, but a lot of what I say gets lost in translation.
I think a similar thing happens when God speaks to His children.
God says: “Put no other god before Me.”
Some hear: “Buy fancy cars and expensive electronics.” It’s not a god if it’s not worshipped, right? “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36)
God says: “Do not covet.”
Some hear: “She has Versace? I’ll get Prada!” I don’t want hers. Mine’s better. “Those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces” (Matthew 11:8).
God says: “More than anything, love each other deeply.”
Some hear: “Cuss out the driver who cut me off and show him that special finger.” Just looking out for him. Wouldn’t want him to do that again and wreck his car. “For you know in your heart that many times you yourself have cursed others” (Ecclesiastes 7:21).
Is it really that we don’t understand instruction? Or are our internal PA systems equipped with faulty wiring?
My teen knows he must finish his school work. My daughter knows her bed is just as comfy as mine. My youngest knows stepped on toys get broken. My children understand my message and they understand the consequences of disobedience. Likewise, we children of God know we are to honor Him and obey His commands. We understand the consequences of sin, and yet we continue to disregard God’s Word.
The solution to this communication conundrum may be found in the first few verses of Proverbs. Proverbs 1:8 advises, “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” The next verse explains why, “They [father’s instruction and mother’s teaching] will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.”
Obedience is beneficial.
Perhaps if we apply that advice as obedient children of our Heavenly Father, we will eliminate the translation problem. In Deuteronomy, we’re told the Lord will delight in us if we obey and keep His commands. I say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:9).
Jodi Whisenhunt is a freelance writer and editor whose services are available at www.jodiwhisenhunt.com. Visit her www.magicalmouseschoolhouse.com to discover how Disney is school.