“What does a cannibal call a phone book?” I asked my translator in Cambodia & he gave me a quizzical look. “I understand phone book, but what is a cannibal?” I quickly explained & followed with the punch line. “A menu!” I was hopeful that he would understand my all time favorite joke. There was a pause & then I could see that he understood, but instead of a fun grin, he looked at me with deep concern, like there was something severely wrong with me to think that such a thing would be even remotely funny.
Rule #1 with using a translator: no jokes because they don’t translate.
But here’s another interesting thing to consider, much of what is said to us gets processed through our mental filters. Whether we realize it or not, our thoughts tell us what we hear rather than us fully understanding what is actually said. For example, if you struggle with insecurity then many compliments you receive can often be ignored or dismissed because of that insecurity filter.
All of this is to say that we should take a step back & ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to us what filters may exist in our thinking that could be obscuring what we hear 🙂
YIKES!!!!!! I just saw this woman wheel her elderly husband up to the deep end of a swimming pool in his wheelchair, she threw him in the pool & walked away. This was extremely startling & unsettling to me, so I leaped up to check on him, hoping he wasn’t gasping or drowning. Thankfully, he was paddling around & seemed to be enjoying the swim. I just checked again & he’s happily floating & enjoying some sun.
At face value, it seemed like this wife was irresponsible at best & abusive at worst, but alas, things aren’t always as they appear. And this is an easy mistake to make in our daily living. We are often forced to make a decision with only a partial quantity of information & we often don’t have the luxury of getting more time or info for a possibly better decision. And here’s the golden ticket: the Bible tells us in James that if we God to give us wisdom, He will liberally & lavishly give us wisdom. Wisdom gives us insight into stuff at a deeper level than face value & thankfully with God’s help, we can make wise observations and decisions that are better than what we know at face value 🙂
She just helped him out of the pool & back into his wheelchair 🙂
When I was in Angola last week with Saving Moses, I was trying to say goodbye to some of my new friends, the moms of the malnourished babies that we help to feed. In Angola, the official language is Portugese & it can sometimes be similar to Spanish (a language in which I’m kind of comfortable). As I was leaving, I was explaining in my mixed Portugese and Spanish efforts that we are leaving in the morning to go back home. The moms seemed to get REALLY excited & I thought they were just being very polite & friendly. After I kept telling lots of different moms about us going home the next day (in the Portugese / Spanish mix), our translator overhead me talking & quickly jumped in with lots of Portugese & explained something. Later he told me that I was telling everyone that we all, including each mom with whom I was speaking, were going to fly home – implying that I was going to bring all of them with me back to America. That was a BIG WHOOOPS!!! Thankfully, the moms understood that my language skills in Portugese are still in the developmental phase :/
I say all of this to ask you to think about letting the Holy Spirit be the translator for your life, rather than trying to understand life without His Help. Bad translation can lead to some very dangerous misunderstandings 🙂