A couple are getting dressed to go to dinner and Sally asks Sam, “How does this outfit look?” The words, at face value, are inviting an opinion about clothing, but are they really? A wise companion listens for the ‘hidden’ question. Regardless of his opinion of her attire, he will affirm his affection for her! Oh, yes, men ask for affirmation, too.
We have all had one of those strange conversations that starts off – “But, you said,” and with that the other person ‘repeats’ what they heard, which is nothing like what we though we said. In our conversations there are – “what is said, what you think I said, and what I think I said!”
Want to avoid many problems in life? Work on communication skills, which goes far beyond just being a ‘good talker.’ From the wisdom of the Word, we are taught several important things about it.
Of first importance is what Jesus taught. Be a person of plain and honest speech. “Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong. “ (Matthew 5:37, The Message) In this day when lawyers are legion, as followers of the Lord of Truth, we must make integrity in communication our goal.
And know this, there is another Listener in every conversation and it’s not only your Alexa™ device. So we pray, “May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14, NLT) Knowing that God hears not only our words, but knows our true motive, is both a comfort and a caution!
There is this – in time our words expose our heart! “A good person produces good words from a good heart, and an evil person produces evil words from an evil heart. And I tell you this, that you must give an account on judgment day of every idle word you speak. The words you say now reflect your fate then; either you will be justified by them or you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:35-37, NLT) Am I a person passionate about the things of God? It will show in my conversations. My emotions, fears, hopes, and dreams spill over in my words.
Words are powerful – to build or destroy! James, in a passage rich in metaphor, teaches this. “A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it! It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell. … With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. … My friends, this can’t go on.” (James 3:3-10, The Message)
There is one certain way to improve the quality of our communication. It starts deep inside of us. Our sincere prayer will be – “Change me, Lord! Make my heart and motives pure. Let the words that flow from me bless, encourage, create hope, and give life.” When the Spirit is at work in us, our words will be grace gifts. Jesus said that “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this way, just as the Scripture says.” (John 7:37-38, The Message)
Here is a word from the Word, a prayer quoted a moment.
Make it yours. “May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14, NLT)
Spend time in worship this weekend.
Gather with the people of the Lord.
And, on Memorial Day, take time to remember those who
have served and died in the defense of our nation.
Thanks for reading CWTW,
which I pray encourages you to pursue a life that pleases God each day.