two women Speaking in a Language Others Understand

Speaking in a Language Others Understand 

I was asked to give directions the other day. Inwardly, I sort of smiled and cringed at the same time because I’m quite directionally challenged.

But since I was asked how to get to a spot in my own hometown, I figured it wouldn’t be that hard.

I quickly saw the confusion on the face of the person who needed my help.

I backtracked my words in my head and had to laugh out loud. I had given her excellent directions, one that any local could easily follow.

My use of familiar landmarks made the use of the names of roads seem completely unnecessary to me but also left her utterly confused.

The trouble was, of course, that she barely knew the roads, much less any of the landmarks. She’s not from around here, a fact that I temporarily forgot as I sincerely tried to help her.

Don’t we all do this in life?

Maybe other people are better at giving directions than I am. I don’t doubt that a bit. But don’t we sometimes just assume other people have had the same experiences we have, that they speak our language?

The truth is we are all at different places in this walk we call life.

Some need more direction to understand where they’re going.

Some need us to have a lot more patience when we explain the road of life to them.

And some are just going to have to get lost a few times before they finally find their way.

It can be hard as a Christian to remember back to when I didn’t know what I know now.

Receiving the sweet gift of salvation changed me completely, but there was absolutely a time when I was wandering around without a road map, making one wrong turn after another.

Sure, there were those who tried to show me the way, but I couldn’t make any sense of what they were trying to tell me.

It’s fair to say I didn’t understand the language they tried so hard to speak to me.

The funny thing about me giving directions to my friend the other day was the way she not only didn’t know which bait shop I was talking about but actually didn’t know what a bait shop was.

For this Southern girl, walking into an old store that sold both worms and Brownie chocolate drinks in glass bottles pretty much summed up my childhood.

But my friend isn’t from around here, something I often forget.

And some folks haven’t had the experience with Christ that I’ve had.

It’s necessary to move a little slower when sharing the Gospel with them. It’s wise to choose a language that’s familiar to everyone instead of slipping into the type of talk only folks at church easily understand. 

After all, my goal the other day was to help my friend find her way to where she needed to go.

And I did.

I had to rethink how to explain it to her though. I had to force my brain to bring up the name of roads instead of familiar landmarks, but I finally was able to help her out.

The same is true with sharing Jesus.

We can’t just throw out words that seem so at home in our own mouth. Salvation and sanctification are part of a foreign language to many people, but sin and forgiveness aren’t. 

It’s all about how we explain it to help people get to where they need to be.

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