12 October 2011

Am I obtuse?

Surely I am too stupid to be a man. I have not the understanding of a man.-Proverbs 30:2

I like words.  I like ideas.  I spend a lot of time reading words and ideas that allow me to formulate thoughts about a wide variety of topics, though particularly related to Christian theology.  Because I have spent a lot of time reading deeply, people often ask my opinions regarding various matters.  Sometimes, I even share my opinions without being asked.  Despite my affinity for well-crafted arguments, I realized today that in my desire to share my knowledge, I sometimes entirely miss the person with whom I am communicating.

Too often, I am obtuse.  To be obtuse is to be lack tact or to be slow to understand.  Twice recently, I could have been labeled obtuse (though it could be more; an unfortunate condition of being obtuse is not always knowing that you are).  In each of these instances, I crafted my arguments well, but I missed the person.  In the first case, I missed the sense of loss the person was experiencing; in the second, I was insensitive to his feelings.

A well constructed exposition is meaningless if it misses the audience.  If I unintentionally hurt someone by my words, even if I believe that they are logically informed, the relationship is the worse for it.  I suspect growth in wisdom is not only accruing knowledge, but learning to use it to patiently and humbly love others. 

The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips.-Proverbs 16:23

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