To communicate with others we try mightily to frame our thoughts, words, and beliefs in the clearest way we know. But we fail. We fail over, and over, and over. We dash around the Tower of Babel unintelligibly. What seems perfectly clear to us, perfectly simple and uncomplicated is utterly baffling to others. This is a great pain of being human. It is what Kierkegaard calls the “martyrdom of unintelligibility.” Each time what is intelligible to us is unintelligible to another, a piece of us is forced to die. And when a piece of us is forced to die, a bit of our self must die. Because of our estimation of our self, it is painful! The fact that what we say or believe may be unintelligible to others renders us martyrs to the cause of understanding.
Your own life is a prime documentation of this. The simplicity of Your message and Your teachings was unintelligible to the Pharisees and most of the Jewish people resulting in Your physical martyrdom on the cross. But it must have been equally painful in Your life to suffer the inability to make Yourself intelligible to the very people to whom You were sent. Yet, accepting this predicament is something with which every human must come to grips. And there is only one way to do this: by denying the self that seeks to be intelligible and by discounting the desire to have others feel and think exactly as you do. It is prideful! Each of us is a martyr to unintelligibility, each a citizen of Babel. Only one other can make out anything intelligible about us – You!