When I was a cop on patrol and received an assignment via my radio, I affirmed the message was received by giving my call sign and speaking the word “copy.” My response let the dispatcher know I understood my assignment. When on the move as a SWAT team member and I received a verbal command from the team leader I would say back to him “copy that.” It meant I heard and affirm the instructions given.
I did something similar as an instrument pilot waiting for an IFR clearance to fly into the clouds and navigate safely through inclement weather. I would file an instrument flight plan before my departure and then when I taxied out and during my preflight check, a radio call would come with my clearance. I would write down the instructions then be asked read them back verbatim to verify I understood my assignment and direction of flight. Whether as a patrol cop, on a SWAT mission or flying through the clouds, people’s lives were at stake regarding the clarity of the information I received. I needed to make sure I heard correctly before I moved forward with any fatal assumptions.
A lot of us are moving through life at warp speed. We can find ourselves living this life on the run. In this blurring occupation of our time, we rarely stop to verify anything we hear assuming we heard the information correctly the first time around. Our assumptions filter what we thought we heard and then we move forward with partial information and eventually collide with a mountain of misinformation hidden in a cloud of assumption or fire a fatal comment at the wrong person.
We owe it to everyone to get our facts straight before we do or say anything. Some friendships would still be alive today if a friend confirmed the intent behind an offhanded comment made without taking offense. Business ventures have failed because a vital part of a plan’s execution was not read back correctly and an error of judgment was executed. Someone sitting in a church pew thought they heard a pastor’s remark accurately in a sermon, but instead, they took offense and quietly left a church without honoring the relationship and taking the time to personally approach the pastor and ask for clarification.
We owe it to each other and to God, to make sure we hear things accurately. Relationships and our mission can be negatively impacted by misinformation. Take time to get the facts straight before you speak or act on what you think you heard or read correctly. Lies are looking for a place to germinate. We do not want to give them any possibility for life through our undisciplined communication. The devil is the father of all lies and miscommunication. None of us want to partner with him to produce the offspring of separation that can lead to the spiritual death of a relationship. Be careful out there. It is a dangerous spiritual environment and we need to walk in wisdom and compassion before we act prematurely on our assumptions.