Years ago, during a pastoral visit to one of the first members of our church plant in Boca Sur, I was told that Luis (the person who would eventually become the pastor) had said some hurtful things and she did not like his manner. Truth be told, what was said did not sound like him but I listened carefully to the report and assured our member I would deal with it. I then spoke with Luis about what was said to me and he informed me as to what he had actually said. I then went back, accompanied by Luis, to our church member's home to clear the matter up. My conversation went like this: "I have spoken to Luis he tells me what he said was (then I repeated his words verbatim)". The complaining church member said "yes, those are the words he said." which led me to say "that is not what you told me he said when we first spoke". Then I heard a comment that has stayed with me for the last sixteen years: "that is what he said, but that is not what he meant."
What had occurred in our first conversation is that she had reported what she thought he meant as being what he actually said. The two things were very different. I recently encountered the opposite of that conversation. I engaged in a dialogue with someone over what he communicated. During the course of the dialogue what became evident is that what he said was not what he meant to communicate. This realization came about because at one point when I pointed out the difference between the words he used and the assertion he was making. He kept defending his assertion and was not concerned with the accuracy of the words he used to convey that assertion.
In both cases, there was a problem in communication. In one case it was in not actively listening to what was said and in the other it was lacking precision of language in the intended message. When Peter and John were before the Jerusalem council in the fourth chapter of Acts, in response to not stopping sharing about Christ, they said in Acts 4:20 [For we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.] Their testimony was communicated with words and actions. Their testimony was also designed to clearly communicate about and point to Jesus Christ.
Our testimony is designed to do the same thing. When we testify though the words that come out of our mouths or the actions that come from our hands, we need to be clear and not convey mixed messages. There should be no doubt as to what we mean to say or the words we are using to say it.
May your Tuesday present you with an opportunity to share Christ in a clear and precise manner,