Summary: We ought to speak the truth we feel With careful thought for those who hear; For truth and love must try to sense What others feel, what others fear

Avoid the Problems of Miscommunication (I Thes 2:6-12)

Many problems in our relationships grow out of miscommunication. Failure to communicate love, truth and relevance often leads to alienation. Many people mistakening assume they are friends but through miscommunications they have drifted in to a state of indifference, misunderstanding or bitterness with some of their associates.

The problem of miscommunication is illustrated by the fact we often direct our messages not to where people are at in their spiritual immature or mature position on the Engel scale:

The original Engel Scale proposed 13 steps through which people usually travel on their spiritual journey:

+5 Stewardship

+4 Communion with God

+3 Conceptual and behavioral growth

+2 Incorporation into Body

+1 Post-decision evaluation

New birth

-1 Repentance and faith in Christ

-2 Decision to act

-3 Personal problem recognition

-4 Positive attitude towards Gospel

-5 Grasp implications of Gospel

-6 Awareness of fundamentals of Gospel

-7 Initial awareness of Gospel

-8 Awareness of supreme being, no knowledge of Gospel

Illustration: Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. --Ephesians 4:25.

The stepfather, wanting to get close to the boy, took him on a fishing trip. The boy hated it but didn’t know how to tell his stepfather directly. So he wrote him a note saying he wanted to go home. The man looked at it and then stuck it in his pocket.

The fishing trip continued for 4 more days. When they finally returned home, the boy shared his frustration with his mother and told her that his father had paid no attention to his note. His mother said to him, "Son, your father can’t read!"

Good communication occurs not only when we know what we want to say, but when we know the person to whom we speak. And to know one another requires a willingness to let others know our weaknesses and limitations.

Paul urged us as believers to speak truthfully with each other because we are members of one another. He also admonished us to be "kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another" (Eph. 4:32). That’s Christlike love, and it provides the security in which good communication can thrive. --HWR

We ought to speak the truth we feel

With careful thought for those who hear;

For truth and love must try to sense

What others feel, what others fear. --DJD

Words spoken in love need no interpreter. (Our Daily Bread)

1. The Holy Spirit gives the leader a capability to have a sincere interest in their followers’ needs, problems and perceptions. One of the most important qualities for being a good communicator is to begin by being a good listener. Paul wrote, "We were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children." (I Thes. 2:7) Mother’s have a radar that is sensitive to the needs of their children. For nearly two years until a child can talk, a Mother has to figure out the needs of her child by observing and listening to every little clue of communication given by the baby. Ask the Lord to increase your ability to really listen to peoples’ needs, problems and perceptions.

2. The Holy Spirit helps us avoid the problems of misinformation by staying in close touch with our people. Paul wrote, "We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us." (I Thes. 2:8) Ask the Lord to help you avoid the problems of false rumors, misinformation or lack of communication among your people.

Illustration: After two senators argued fiercely about religion, the one said, "I’ll bet you $10 you can’t even say the Lord’s Prayer correctly." The other guy

started out, "And now I lay me down to sleep..." -- and while finishing that child’s prayer, the first senator said, "Here’s your $10 bucks -- I didn’t think you knew it.

Be careful of the bane of superficial knowledge, misinformation or clarity in one’s communication.

3. The Holy Spirit helps us gain greater cooperation through consistent communication. When people are able to sense that they are free to communicate back and forth with their leaders, many bigger problems are prevented. Paul wrote, "You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed." (I Thes. 2:10) Ask the Lord to help you be more consistent and transparent in your communications with people to facilitate trust and maturity in your organization.

4. The Holy Spirit allows communications to happen on many levels and in a wide variety of situations. Paul wrote, "Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you." (I Thes. 2:9) Ask the Lord to help your communications expand to multiple channels in many different settings to enhance its effectiveness, efficiency and accessibility.

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