Learning to Communicate

[Jesus said,] “What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear!”     Matthew 10:27 (NLT)

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.          James 1:19

My husband and I are very different in personality type, how we do our work, choice of relaxation activities, – on most every level except the most important – we both love and serve our LORD. And if we had any doubts about how different we are, we had plenty of people remind us, including our families. After almost 13 years of marriage, I would have to say that our obvious differences have been a blessing for a variety of reasons. The one that I have been thinking and thanking God for recently is: we have learned to be very intentional about our communication. We do not assume that the other person just knows what we are thinking or feeling. And if we do think we know, we take that extra moment to verify that we are correct. And then let go of any frustration if we aren’t! This has derailed many, many disagreements.

I went to look at what God in His word says about speaking and communicating. I found first of all that there is much more about God speaking than about people. People seem to get very quiet when God speaks.

Every word should be ‘seasoned’ with love. (1 Corinthians 13:1) Jesus did not speak with the intent to humiliate someone. Now His words did humiliate those who were filled with pride like the church leadership but that was not the intent of His heart. And so it is with my words. Jesus is my standard. Paul says that if I speak all kinds of “angelic words” but do not have love – I’m like a crashing cymbal. God holds His ears in pain when He hears my un-lovely words.

Give the Holy Spirit permission to control my tongue. (1 Corinthians 2:13) Before Jesus became my Savior and Teacher, my tongue was a “registered weapon”. I could rip you up with my words. I took no prisoners. It began with teasing, making fun of people, or “dissing” people for their weaknesses when I was a pre-teen. Then in high school and college I added the “flavor” of cursing. Servicemen would blush. It is never God when cursing words come out a mouth. Jesus said that the mouth would speak what overflowed from the heart (Matthew 12:34). So what does that tell me was in my heart? It is a choice that I make to give the Holy Spirit control over what goes inside of me and what flows out of me. I believe this choice to make a change and take on a Holy Spirit filter cost me many people that I thought were my friends. Will I live my life first for God’s approval or everyone else?

My words should be about God’s Kingdom, not myself. (Ephesians 5:19) Are the words that I speak appropriate to speak in the Throne Room of God? Do they praise Him with their love and encouragement, patience and forgiveness, kindness and gentleness? Ouch. Not every sentence needs to have the word “God” or “Jesus” in it but it should have His Spirit in it! When I part company with someone, they should leave in better shape than when we met. That is Kingdom building!

LORD, may I be quick to listen to You whispering in my ear. May I be slow to speak so that Your Spirit can ‘marinate’ the words in my heart before I speak. May what God releases me to speak be a “fire in my bones” that I fear no man. And if scorn of man comes my way, may I follow the example of Christ and allow His love and His Spirit only to speak, even in silence. Take my life, LORD, and use it as You will.

Lifesong Sing to You by Casting Crowns

 

 

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