Have you ever taken the time to think about just how powerful words are?
We communicate every day through written and spoken language. You would think that the act of communication is something that everyone does well since we use words all of the time, however, if you stop and look around you’ll be surprised at the fact that most people do not communicate clearly. This can cause many problems for us both five senses wise and spiritually.
I have made a very conscious effort over the years to be as precise as possible in my speech so as to avoid misunderstandings with people. This has worked well for me overall although a recent event proved to me that even with very carefully chosen words people can still have problems with effective communication and understanding.
We as believers who have the foundation of God’s Word, and the tools to research God’s Word, should have the focus of effective communication in the forefront of our mind. Whether we are speaking to someone or working the Word, we must be aware that misunderstandings can happen due to unclear communication or by an error in private interpretation.
God says that His Word is of no private interpretation. That means you and I should not interject our own opinions or interpretations into it. My question to you is: How often do you apply that same principle to everyday communicating?
"I have come to understand that effective communication is much more than just carefully chosen words (written or spoken) but also involves listening."
If you are conversing with someone and they say something you are unsure about, do you take the time to ask them to clarify? Do you take the time to make sure that the person you are speaking to truly understands you?
This is important because we as believers have a responsibility to be mindful of other peoples hearts and feelings. If we say something without thinking about it first, we may actually hurt that person without knowing it and in some cases that could even keep that person from getting born again or reaching their full potential as a son of God.
God is the best example for incredible effective communication if you really look at the magnitude of his skills. His words to us are specific and deliberate. There are reasons why he says things, where he says things and how he says things. He’s very direct in His speech yet has our hearts in the forefront of his thoughts in everything he says and does.
The first example of how easy it is for us to become misguided when we do not practice effective communication skills (through speech and listening skills) is found in Genesis. In Gen. 2:16-17 God clearly states to Adam the commandment “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
But in Gen 3:1-13 we see the consequences of the listener not practicing effective communication. The serpent knowingly misused God’s words but Eve also did not clearly listen to or carefully consider what the serpent said. She may have heard the words, but she did not listen. She did not take the time to think about what God had taught Adam and compare that to what the serpent was telling her now. The result: the adversary was given ultimate control over the earth and everyone born is subject to him until they get born again. That's a harsh reality.
God Encourages us to Gain and Use Wisdom.
In researching this subject deeper you will find that God really emphasizes words, the mouth, the tongue, ears, and listening greatly. God encourages us to gain and use wisdom. How do you get wisdom? Through knowledge and experience. Knowledge and experience can be traced back to words and effective communication.
The Book of Proverbs is all about gaining wisdom. Knowing how to act or respond in situations and apply knowledge rightly for the benefit of all of us. Proverbs also talks much about the mouth, speech and listening. (See Proverbs Chapters: 10, 11, 12, 15, and 18 for examples) Matt 5:11, 5:37 and James 5:12 encourage us to “let our yea be yea and our nay be nay” and that it is “not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man”.
Speak concisely. People may not listen to you very well but clear speech can reduce the amount of hurt and misunderstanding between people. Clear effective communication and diplomacy can be learned and God’s Word is the best example we have as to just how important this subject really is.
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By: Debbra Sweet
Debbra Sweet is a biblical scholar who served 8 years on the Board of Directors for ACF (The Association of Christian Fellowships) a worldwide biblical research ministry. Debbra Sweet and her husband, Daniel Sweet, were in charge of the North San Diego County Region of in home fellowships for ACF. She has overseen the growth and development of multiple in home fellowships and has been instrumental in helping many people come to the knowledge and truth of God’s Word. She is also the founder of Thrive Right Consulting and Sweet Marketing Solutions and an author in the Power of Leadership book series.