Commitment to Communication.
Are you communicating life to others?
There’s a verse in the book of Proverbs that paints a great picture of what it looks like when a person actually lives out a commitment to demonstrate and communicate life to others. Proverbs 11:30 says, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and whoever captures (saves, or wins) souls is wise (ESV).” The “righteous” are people who are in a right relationship with God, and that relationship is having a visible positive impact on their lives.
In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul describes our fruit as “fruits of the Spirit.” When the Holy Spirit controls our lives, He will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) People begin to be drawn to the wisdom, love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness in us as we demonstrate wisdom. We tell them, through our actions and words, that the goodness in us (the love, joy, peace, and patience) is actually because of the blessing of God’s work in our lives. Sure, we’re active in the process, but God is the difference-maker. Whatever He’s done for us, He can absolutely do in them also.
Truth is, it’s not always easy to live this way. We are imperfect. We don’t always demonstrate love, joy, and peace. And, added to that, we don’t always use our words to communicate life to others, do we? Thus, we have verses like this:
- Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
- Psalm 141:3 Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!
- Ephesians 4:15. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.
- Ephesians 4:29. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
- Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
- James 3:9-10 Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. 10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!
Let’s face it, living wisely and communicating with wisdom and grace in a life-giving way isn’t always easy. So, if we are going to be life-giving, it behooves us to cultivate our relationship with God so that it affects our character and moves us to be deeply committed to working on communication.
Here are five helpful tips to help communicate in a life-giving way:
- Check your heart. Prov. 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart for from it flow the springs of life.” Start with your heart; everything comes from there.
- Commit to listening. “Be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger…(James 1:19)” My encouragement here is to listen, not just let others talk. Listen. And I don’t mean the kind of listening where you form your answer or response while the other is talking – listen to what is behind what is being said.
- Understand that the delivery matters (almost as much as the message!!) How we communicate is as important as what we are communicating because there is no separating the two.
- Remember that winning an argument is not the ultimate goal. The goal is a life-giving relationship. You can win an argument, and yet both of you lose in the long run because you’ve beaten down the person or people you want to win with.
- Choose grace. Give grace to the other person and seek and receive forgiveness for you. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you (Ephesians 4:32).”
Choosing to communicate with grace is built on trust. Trust that BECAUSE God has proven Himself to us in so many ways already, He knows best and can be trusted again. Will you trust Him?