The tone, the pitch, the body language even the manner in which words are spoken can communicate two sets of meaning even with the same words. One has to look carefully then, not only at at the words themselves, but also everything about the way those words are used, else misinterpretation is inevitable.

The Pharisees today asked the disciples of Jesus a question ‘why does you master eat with tax collectors and sinners?'(Mt 9:11) Those were their specific words, but play around with the pitch, tone and a bit of body language and the meaning can come across as very different.

So today, I want us ponder on “the reason behind our questions “. Whenever we use why, is it out of genuine concern to get to the core of an issue so as to offer solutions or is it only a vain attempt to identify faults and point fingers? The latter was the intention of the Pharisees in their questioning.

If we also adopt such an attitude or frame of mind, we are unlikely to benefit from whatever answers come from those questions we ask because we will be wrongly disposed. Sometimes, the only reason we are not impacted by the things we hear is because of the convictions with which we made our enquiry – not from a learner’s curiosity and thirst for knowledge, but a judges search for a reason to condemn.

Let’s therefore check the attitude behind our questioning of situations, people or things. Otherwise, we will miss out on many wisdom nuggets.


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