Only ten percent of communication is verbal. Thirty-five percent is our tone. Everything else is our body language; things that we do as we verbalize. I have heard these statistics in four different public forums over the past month and I still don’t think I understand what they mean. It was brought home in a new way when three different people on the ends of a separate but linked three-way conversation said, at the end of a period of difficult negotiations, that my words were saying something quite different from my body language. I’m confused.
I shouldn’t be, but I am. I know how I am feeling. I know how I think I am acting. I know what my head has concluded. Yet, maybe I don’t! My actions tell me something. Am I listening? Do I explore and understand or just conclude.
The good news is that others were quicker to question the inconsistency between my words and the rest of my communication. This gave me the chance to bring them in sync! Life rarely gives you or me this type of opportunity; usually because we are not looking for it. People rarely are. God gave the world of Joel’s time, specifically those who were around God’s family, a blunt assessment of what they had been doing.
“You robbed me, cleaned me out of silver and gold, carted off everything valuable to furnish your own temples.” (Joel 3.5)
The fact that we have given God lip-service while taking every blessing and fortifying our own temple is just reality, so do something about it! God knows this already, it is our lack of understanding that blocks Divinity’s arms of mercy, understanding, and compassion from wrapping themselves around us. This morning, even in the cold and wet, we can seize the day! We can step into relationship, into family, and into a future. It is ours, God has made it sure.
As I step, physically and metaphorically, towards God it is as if I am synchronizing my words and my actions; finally, true understanding of the whole picture.