Isn’t It Obvious?!?
I was out shopping with my family the other day. While mingling through the crowds, I would occasionally “people-watch.” While doing so, I happened to observe a 20-something couple in the distance walking toward my direction. Being married for 25 years myself, I have learned a few things. One of those rare things is how to argue in public. So, in observing this couple, based on my vast “wealth” of marital knowledge, I realized they were engaged in rather intense fellowship. Okay…call it what it is; they were fighting with each other. As they walked by, I heard one say to the other, “I love you! Isn’t it obvious?”
That phrase, “Isn’t it obvious?” really stood out in my mind. I began to roll it over and over in my mind. Why didn’t she see the love he has “obviously” been expressing? Has it been obvious? Maybe only to him…but not to her? I thought about how many times our intentions, motives and agendas do not match our actions. So to answer the question (in those mismatched moments), no, how you feel isn’t always obvious based upon your actions. Do your motives match your actions? Did your initial intentions ultimately match the outcome? Would others observing you agree with your self-assessment? So, how do we make it “obvious?”
Make sure your heart and motives are indeed pure. The root determines the fruit. Matthew 7:16 states, “By their fruit you will recognize them.” If our motives and agendas are wrong, if our hearts are not right before the Lord, then it is a sure bet that our message will be off too. There is no way for us to be “obvious” and clear in our motives when those motives are not grounded in a real relationship with Christ. Motives are authenticated by our actions.
Act in a way that others will truly understand you. This is similar to the teachings you have may have heard on “love languages.” We need to act and react in ways that the OTHER person will clearly understand. Communication is not merely about speaking, but about being heard. Speak and act in ways that others will actually hear you. Don’t merely pray and hope everyone gets it. You are responsible for perception. We need to care (as much as we can) how others hear and interpret our words and actions. Make them obvious and easily understood.
Be consistent. Being “obvious” is aided inherently by one’s ability to be consistent. Being consistent is the bedrock to forming trust between one another. James 3: 9-11 reminds us, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?” When our words and actions today do not match our words and actions tomorrow, what we intended to be so “obvious” about will be lost in the contradiction.
So the phrase, “Isnt it obvious?” can be both a dangerous and confusing phrase when our actions are not as clear as they should be. “No, I can’t tell you love me, based on how you’re treating me.” “No, I can’t tell that you’re ethical when your business practices are always secretive and mysterious.” “No, I don’t know where your heart is, when you say one thing to me today and another tomorrow.” 1 John 3:18 encourages us, “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” Cornerstone Christian Schools desires to help our families and students live a life, obviously and overtly, devoted to Christ. We want to help our students see that their hearts must match their actions. This first requires a heart that runs after God.
By Dr. Jerry Eshleman
Superintendent of Cornerstone Christian Schools