MISUNDERSTANDING, MISINTERPRETING, AND MISINFORMATION OF ARTICLES
Occasionally I read an article with which I disagree. Most of the time I say or do nothing because the writer, in my opinion, has a limited influence on those for whom God has given me some influence. In other words, I don’t think they will hurt those I love. Occasionally however, I decide that someone must give an answer to something which could be harmful to those for whom I feel God has given me some influence. I usually wait to see if someone else will do it, but most of the time, they do not, so that is when I decide I must.
Now, with that as a backdrop, I never go to another’s forum and state my disagreement. The reason I do not is because I want to show them the respect for the Blog or website that belongs to them. I do not attempt to inflict my disagreements on to readers who do not necessarily care what I say. However, if you choose to read what I post on my sites, then I feel the right to say what I deem to be true. It is your choice whether to go there or not.
When people vehemently disagree with me I sometimes wonder if they even read what I wrote. When I disagree with someone I always read the article several times. I then ask a few others, who I trust, to read it just to be sure I am not misunderstanding what they really said. It is so common for people to attack me based upon things I did not say, but that which they thought I said. So, I work extra at being objective to others.
I do not want to make that mistake with others. I want to be honest enough to interpret what another says in the way they intended. There are many “haters” on the internet, but there are some sincere people who are careless when responding to an article. Some are just looking for a fight, while others are looking for right. Having been attacked foolishly by responders, I decided to share what I think causes us to misinterpret another’s writing. Here are my thoughts.
1. They miss the point of the message because they dislike the messenger. It is a sad commentary when we are unable to filter messages and break them down into their least common denominator absent of our personal opinion about the person. The dislike of the messenger can be so severe that their thoughts are not even worthy of consideration. The true test of an article is when it is put side by side with Bible principles. Far too many friendships dictate the like of an article and too many dislike the messenger so much they automatically dislike the message. I love to read, and I love to think about what I read. I fear that few actually think about what they read because of their prejudice towards the writer.
2. They miss the point because of their preconceived ideas of what they think someone means. When we begin to guess at motives we will automatically fail in any observation of substance in an article. I do not know why people write what they write and neither do they know why I write what I write. If we leave motives aside, we might actually be able to grasp the thrust of an article and be persuaded to reconsider the flaws in our own thinking. We are so blinded by our likes and dislikes that solid productive interaction never gets to first base, let alone make it home.
3. They miss the point because they attach a man to a movement they dislike, and do not take heed to his actual words. I understand the ones we associate with will have an impact on our belief system. I understand the movement we are involved in will shape our thoughts, and show up in our writings. Influence is real and those whom we love and admire will affect our words. However, to be an independent thinker is critical to proper analysis of points of view and potential dangerous detours. Movements create monuments and monuments are the end of the movements. To be swept up in a movement without being able to critique the wave makers is a mistake. It is the ability to spot destructive ideas that will keep us on the right road. Do not discount warnings because of being attached to a movement.
4. They miss the point because they are disagreeable and want to find something with which to disagree. Some people just like to argue. If you were to tell them the sky was blue they would argue the point. It is one thing to disagree and it is another thing to offer a thoughtful alternative with your disagreement. When disagreements becomes hateful it ceases to be a viable dialogue. I can be angry and sin not. I can hate sin without hating the sinner. To become hateful suffocates interaction.
5. They miss the point because they just do not read the article or do so carelessly. Many times people have berated me after reading the header for an article. Make sure you read the actual article from beginning to end. It would be to your advantage to actually have read the words. I would suggest you read it over and over and over in order to get past your bias. A solid conclusion cannot be arrived at by casual reading. If you are going to casually read it then make sure you do not comment on it.
6. They miss the point because they have an agenda and they judge everything by their agenda not the writer’s intent. An agenda is not the problem. It is what is on the agenda that can be the problem. When the agenda dictates a forgone conclusion, there can be no growth or correction. Never concede a papal attitude to writers who agree with your agenda. Just because, in your opinion, they may be right most of the time does not make them right all of the time. No one is infallible. When you become unteachable you are unreachable.
7. They miss the point because they are dumb. I do not say that to be unkind, but because it is true. Some people just do not get it, and when trying to dialogue with some people I often am forced to conclude that they are just too dumb to get it. Casting your pearls before swine demands judgment as to what is the pearl and who is the swine. Some people are unreachable with logic. It is an absolute waste of time to attempt to reason with the unreasonable.
So, there you have it from one who has been the recipient of all of these and, I am sorry to say, been guilty of some of them from time to time.