Speaking in Riddles

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

Fellowship of the Ring – JRR Tolkien

I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings of old,
Psalm 78:2

Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.
Matthew 13:13

I wish I knew how better to express myself by parable. By parable alone can some of the most important messages be delivered. It is like a message that is delivered for pardon from a crime for a person, but the receiver can’t make heads or tails of it until at exactly the crucial moment the content becomes clear and the application swift. Parables can be so plain and even simple in nature that the full meaning only becomes evident in such a time as the recipient is ready to understand them. To confound the wise and be understood by the humble. More plainly spelled out and the receiver would altogether reject the content, but veiled for a time the message begins to take root. This is not to deceive or trick, but to deliver the message ahead of time so that when looking back the meaning becomes plain and because the message was ahead of the fulfillment then the trust for the messenger or content of the message becomes even stronger. The right person, in the right attitude begins to be understood and more fully appreciate what has been said.

If we consider from the viewpoint of the author of a parable then even more we can see the value in their method. If the author speaks directly and plainly about a matter, but the recipients because of their own situations begin to misunderstand and become irritated or aggravated with the message what course should be taken? A message that given the chance would have brought comfort and peace, but now brings distance and injury. Do you as the author speaking a good message that bears plainly your heart in a matter stop sharing simply because of the confusion of your audience? I suppose the human tendency would be to say yes you do stop and if the recipient is resistant then the injury caused by their misunderstanding is their own fault. However, when so cared for is the recipient and so important is the message, then it cannot be left unspoken even though it cannot be rightly heard. The only course then left to communicate is through these dark sayings, or uttering hidden things and then trusting that in the right time they will be understood and appreciated.

One thought on “Speaking in Riddles

  1. I agree and I also think it depends on your audience. Even if you have something tough to say to me, probably better just go with the direct method as it may just go straight over my head otherwise. And if it is from you, well then you seem to be able to gently be direct so that it is receivable without pain in addition to the correction. On the other hand, I’m probably the one who needs to learn to express myself in parable because my direct is probably too strong. But a really good word picture can certainly go a long way and does somehow seem to remain with us longer.

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