How to Handle Misunderstandings
Have you ever been misunderstood? If you haven’t, you will. Misunderstandings are a part of life. Being misunderstood is painful; it causes hurt feelings. The question I’d like to ask today is, “How can we handle misunderstandings?” We can address how to deal with misunderstanding by looking at a psalm that addresses this issue, Psalm 17. The writer of Psalm 17 knew what it’s like to be misunderstood. In this psalm he cried out to God, asking for help to deal with those who had misunderstood him and falsely accused him.
Traditionally we’ve attributed this psalm to David. Many scholars do not believe that David actually wrote it. Even so, we can see that this psalm reflected David’s experience and should be seen as its background. David had experienced misunderstanding. King Saul became very jealous of David after the episode with Goliath. The people’s songs about Saul’s 1000s and David’s 10,000s hurt the king deeply. Saul began to accuse David falsely. He accused him of sedition and treason against the king and of blasphemy against God. Saul even tried to kill David (more than once). David had to flee for his life. Twice David could have killed Saul but he refused. He cried out to the king and told him he had misunderstood him. He was loyal. He was no threat. But the king wouldn’t accept his claims. David certainly knew what it was like to be misunderstood. In this psalm David cried out to God and asked for his intervention.
David’s prayer in Psalm 17 suggests how we can handle misunderstanding. To identify these suggestions we need to clarify what he asked God to do. What did David ask God for in this prayer? What kind of prayer is it? Psalm 17 describes four things about prayer that enable us to handle misunderstanding:
· Prayer makes our appeal to the “________________________________” (Ps. 17:1-7)
· Prayer enables us to see our critics ____________________________ (Ps. 17:10; Matt. 5:44; Rom. 12:17-21)
· Prayer gives the _______________________ we need to endure misunderstandings (Ps. 17:8-9)
Prayer removes the ________________ that blocks our __________________ (Ps. 17:15)