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Isn't it amazing how sometimes we get all tangled up with the words we speak and end up not being clear about what we're trying to say?

Back when I was in high school, I had a poster that read, "I know you think you understand what I said, but what you don't understand is that what I said wasn't what I meant."

Are you ever misunderstood? I've noticed that it happens everywhere, at work, at home, at school. Believe it or not, it even happens at church.

Every so often, Abigail Van Buren in her column, Dear Abby, ran a list of church bulletin misprints and church sign bloopers that prove that we in the church occasionally have problems saying what we mean. Here are a few:

The bulletin of a church in Iowa announced: The Low Self-Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Please use the back door.

Another church's bulletin carried this announcement: Due to the Pastor's illness, Wednesday's healing services will be discontinued until further notice.

During a service, one preacher made this announcement: This being Easter Sunday, we will now ask Mr. Williams to come forward and lay an egg on the altar.

The senior choir invites any member of the congregation who enjoys sinning to join the choir.

Another church newsletter had this: At the evening service tonight, the topic will be "What is Hell?" Come early and hear our choir practice.

Not to pick on the choir, but an announcement in one church read: Eight new choir robes are currently needed, due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.

In Scripture, we find that even Jesus sometimes had trouble speaking clearly enough for people to get what he was saying. Jesus tries to make a point using symbolic figures of speech that his listeners just don't get. The images he uses of sheepfolds, thieves, gates and gatekeepers were very familiar to these people, and yet, they didn't understand. He talks of weeds and wheat and yet they have to ask for an explanation.

Often what we hear, or read, is not necessarily what was intended. Let us be slow to anger, quick to forgive, and have a sense of humor in most things. Especially in these days when nothing really is easy to understand or easy to laugh about.



Pastor James "Skip" French is the pastor of Highland Christian Church, 1500 Forest Hills Blvd., Bella Vista. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

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