Body Language is a significant aspect of communications and relationships. People are constantly throwing off a storm of signals. These silent signals maybe intentional or unintentional but are messages communicating attitudes through the sender’s body
movements. A tapping foot speaks of impatience, the beaming smile of welcome or acceptance, leaning forward to hear speaks of attention and interest, the shrug of not knowing or lack of concern, arms crossed in stubborn resistance, but none is so blatantly obvious as someone turning their attention elsewhere or their back turned in rejection when you are speaking to them. But sometimes, body language can be misread.
I have sometimes felt the cold shoulder of rejection when the family gathers and everyone gets on their iPhones. So I have followed suit and turned from them, to go do something that needs done or I enjoy.
Last week a visiting speaker told of a man seated up front at his home church, who week after week sat through the Sunday morning service intent on his iPhone. Although he was seemingly oblivious to the worship and the preaching going on around him, he was a distinct distraction that stood out like a sore thumb to those who had to look past him to the worship team and then the pastor. The preacher said he finally just asked the man if he wouldn’t just join them in worship. Now that was tact.
I found myself in a similar situation and the distraction really irritated me. I tried to avoid seeing the person whose body language screamed disrespect but peripheral vision can not be blocked out. That is great when you are driving but not so good when something is distracting you from what you want to do.
Honestly, I tried to ignore the action that to me seemed beyond rude. I really did try, but being provoked as I was, I just could not enter into worship. Recognizing my problem, I closed my eyes and began to pray.
“LORD, my attitude is plum rotten! I should be loving her not judging her.
Forgive me LORD, and refocus me, redirect my thoughts just like a water hose’s spray is turned from one plant to another. (Proverbs 21:1) Open, my heart.
Please pour YOUR love for her into my heart (Romans 5:5) let YOUR love, as rivers of living water flow through me to her. (John 7:38) And unite my heart to worship YOU.
LORD, touch her and open her heart to hear YOU. She needs to see YOU. Draw her into worshiping YOU. Oh LORD, YOU have made the heavens and the earth by YOUR great power, nothing is too hard for YOU.”(Jeremiah 32:17)
It worked for a while, then I became distracted by her again and this time I went directly to the LORD. “Doesn’t she need to see her actions are disrespectful to YOU and distracting to others, keeping them from focusing on what YOU have for them to hear today?”
“Well then, tell her Sharon. But remember that “the servant of the LORD must not strive but be kind to everyone, able to teach effectively and be patient with difficult people. You should gently teach those who oppose the truth. Perhaps I will change her heart so she can see the truth so she will come to her senses and escape from the devil’s enticing trap… to do whatever he wants but you must open the door for her to listen to ME by the way your treat her with respect.” (2 Timothy 2:24-26/ John 10:3)
“OK LORD, if there is an opening I will speak. But, YOU will have to give me the words.” Peace came over me and finally I could listen to what I came to hear.
After the talk I had an opportunity and shot an arrow prayer: “LORD, I don’t want to do this, YOU promised that if I commit my work (assignments) to YOU that YOU will establish my thoughts. (Proverbs 16:3) I claim that promise, give me the words I am to say.”
I am an earthen vessel,
just a little pot of clay
without contents I am worthless,
unused, inane I lay
Till the tender Master Potter
fills HIS vessel from above
with the living flowing water
of HIS great eternal love
No longer am I worthless,
nor unused, inane do lie
Now there is water for the thirsty.
Their needs HE does supply
So with a bit of a preface about body language, I asked her directly about her relationship with the LORD and her face lit up and she told how she still struggles but yearns to know GOD better.
I was judging her heart by appearance and I was so wrong. She had come to hear. But still she had needed to hear her actions were not the best and when she heard she seemed to receive the rebuke.
It really is as the Word of GOD says: speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) open rebuke really is better than secret love.(Proverbs 27:5) But it is still very hard to do!
The whole incident illustrated to me something else. How GOD uses all of HIS vessels. In 2 Timothy 2:20,21 we are told that our choices determine whether we are vessels of honor or dishonor. GOD uses vessels of honor for special purposes and vessels of dishonor for common purposes. While she seemed to dishonor the LORD by appearing disinterested in things of GOD, GOD used her to correct me by showing me that I was being judgmental
What an amazing GOD we serve. HIS ways are beyond our understanding
Looking unto JESUS the Author and Perfecter of my faith,