TONE MATTERS! Tone matters. Yes, our tone truly does matter. (sigh)
The way we hear words deeply affects us. When I listened to bible stories, I often heard Jesus' tone as very angry. "Oh, you of little faith..." he'd say with arms crossed, shaking his head. That was the way my mind pictured him. "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching," Jesus replied. (John 14:23) Again, I felt as though his finger was shaking in my face while I read those words. I don't know if it was my personality, strict household rules, church teachers who taught with harsh tone or all of the above, but I had a hard time not hearing Jesus sigh loudly, speaking with a "holy tolerance" only he could muster up after thousands of years of stupid people. My sister and I have spoken about this many times over the years. Why did we feel like we were always "busted" when we'd read God's Word. Somehow, shame often showed up after reading it. I discovered it was the tone with which I was reading it. When the bible uses the words, "Jesus said," there is rarely any adverbs to tell us HOW he said it, so you hear his voice the way you perceive him.
My imagination was fantastic! I built butterfly cages out of wood and Saran wrap, had legions of animals that lived in my pretend world, and an invisible identical twin sister named Julie (she was the "good" sister). But when it came to letting my mind conceive the truths and stories of the bible, I had already been told what it all looked like... Jesus was a flannel graph!
He was stuck in the same position for practically every story. You know the one, where it looks like he is preaching and pageant waving at the same time. Now, I have to tell you, I chuckle as I write this because my mom loves flannel graph story telling. Flannel graph is not an evil thing. Actually, it can be a great tool. But, I do think my imagination would have done a better job making my Savior seem more alive than "impersonal frozen statue Jesus." Why is this part of my story? Because many years of my impressionable childhood was filled with a strict, irritated, impersonal, posed version of Christ. So when I was very little and would sing the song, "Oh be careful little hands what you do...for the Father up above is looking down in love, oh be careful little hands what you do," it scared me. He didn't feel loving. I thought Jesus was tapping his sandal foot, holding his arm out and saying, "Behave Girl!"
|Tone matters. And this is frightening!|