Summary: Sermon series based on The DNA of Relationships by Dr. Gary Smally. Communication is more than just hearing words, we have to go deeper to the heart of the matter


A. We are continuing our series of lessons on The DNA of Relationships based on the book by Dr. Gary

Smalley. Today’s lesson is on Communication: Listen with the Heart.


This story appeared in The News Gazette last May.

A minister decided that a VISUAL DEMONSTRATION would add EMPHASIS to his Sunday sermon.

Four worms were placed into four separate JARS. The first worm was put into a container of alcohol. The second worm was put into a container of cigarette smoke. The third worm was put into a container of chocolate syrup. The fourth work was put into a container of good clean soil.

At the conclusion of his lesson, the minister reported the following results: The first worm in alcohol—dead. The second worm in cigarette smoke—dead. Third word in chocolate syrup—dead.

Fourth worm in good clean soil—alive.

So the minister asked the congregation, “What can you learn from this demonstration?”

A little old lady in the back quickly raised her hand and said, “As long as you drink, smoke, and eat chocolate, you won’t have worms!”


I could be wrong, but I think COMMUNICATION broke down somewhere during that sermon.

1. H. Norman Wright, a highly respected Christian Marriage and Family counselor, believes that EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION is the most important aspect to any relationship and that most RELATIONSHIP problems stem from MIS-COMMUNICATION or LACK of COMMUNICATION.

2. If you think back on some of the PROBLEMS that you’ve had with another person, you know how TRUE that is.


One of the key problems in COMMUNICATING is making yourself UNDERSTOOD. .A placard frequently placed on office walls reads: “I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”

B. Communication experts point out that when you talk to another person there are actually six messages that can come through:

1. What you mean to say.

2. What you actually say.

3. What the other person hears.

4. What the other person thinks he hears.

5. What the other person says about what you said.

6. What you think the other person said about what you said.


No wonder MISCOMMUNICATION or a LACK of COMMUNICATION can cause a lot of MISUNDERSTANDING and leads people to jump to the wrong CONCLUSION. So EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION involves more than merely SPEAKING and LISTENING to the WORDS.





When I was a kid in Elementary School some of my classmates would make fun of me and call me names.

I guess I was DESTINED to be a PREACHER, because after hearing this DAY after DAY after DAY, I finally got so SICK of it that I stood up and PREACHED to those guys, “Remember the words of Jesus! ‘Sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me.’”


I heard that phrase so much I thought it had to be found in the Bible. That old saying is not TRUE. Oh . . . WORDS can’t BREAK my BONES, but they can be DEVASTATING. When people sling VERBAL ROCKS at you—CALLING YOU NAMES . . . BELITTLING, DEMEANING, and HUMILIATING you, it HURTS—it CUTS DEEPLY.

1. Our WORDS are POWERFUL! With them we can DESTROY or we can BUILD UP.

a. James 3:9-10 (READ and COMMENT)

b. Ephesians 4:29 (READ and COMMENT)

c. Proverbs 18:21a- “The tongue has the power of life and death…”


I have seen FAMILIES torn apart because of the TONGUE.

I have seen FRIENDSHIPS destroyed because of the TONGUE.

I have seen Christians leave the CHURCH because of the TONGUE.

I have seen CHURCHES split because of the TONGUE.

2. That’s why we need to use our WORDS wisely.

a. Proverbs 10:19- “When words are many, sin IS NOT absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.”

b. Proverbs 11:12- “A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his tongue.”

c. Proverbs 15:1- “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”


A lot of ARGUMENTS and HEARTACHE can be AVOIDED if we just keep a tight REIGN on our TONGUE and SPEAK WORDS that BUILD UP—not DESTROY!

B. Move beyond WORDS to FEELINGS.

1. It’s not enough just to STATE the FACTS about something that UPSETS us, we must help the other person to UNDERSTAND how we FEEL about it.

a. For example: Your husband works LATE without NOTIFYING you and when he finally gets home he INFORMS you that he’s already grabbed a BITE to eat.


You can state the facts: “I’ve got dinner on the table! Couldn’t you at least call and tell

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