Summary: This is the 7th devotion from the series entitles, Building Relationships that Last,' and talks about the importance of communication in building healthy relationships.
Communication, we can say, is the life-line to maintaining meaningful relationships. Today, more than ever before, there are myriad ways we can communicate with one another. The advancements in science and technology have placed before us, numerous options to communicate effectively, and the boom of social media has literally made the world a global village. Interestingly though, as individuals, and as a society we have distanced ourselves from each other, though the possibilities to communicate are simple and umpteen.
Some of the common ways of communication are verbal, non-verbal, written, listening and visual. Most of us are using one or more of the above mentioned methods to communicate, and each of us is constantly communicating with someone or the other, whether we realize it or not. There are however, barriers to communication, and some of the common ones are, language, busyness, lack of trust and transparency, varying communication styles, dissatisfaction in relationships, conflict, and indifference to others.
If we were to look at communication from a biblical perspective, we will have to go way back to the tower of Babel.
God confused the languages
Genesis 11:1-9 records that at this point, the whole earth had one language and one speech. However, when the people got together, and tried to build a city whose towers would reach the heavens, and decided to make a name for themselves, and thought they could defy God, God intervened to thwart their plans. God, in His divine wisdom, decided to do two things; Firstly, He confused their languages and secondly, He scattered the people all over the earth, which was why the place was called ‘Babel’, meaning ‘confusion.’ God was the originator for languages, and He knew the importance of communication. Communication if good, can be beneficial to others and poor communication can hamper healthy relationships.
Jesus the Best Communicator
As one studies the life of Jesus, as portrayed in the gospels in the New Testament, we will realize that Jesus was the finest communicator, and His methods of communication were outstanding. Read the Sermon on the Mount as recorded in Matthew Chapters 5 to 7 to understand how Jesus used illustrations that were simple, yet powerful, in his teachings. No wonder then that the multitudes went after Him, for no one had spoken the truths of God with such clarity and authority. There were times when Jesus went out of the way to meet with individuals like the Samaritan Woman in John Chapter 4 or Zacchaeus in Luke Chapter 19:1-10, and communicated in ways that were most appropriate to them. What about the time in John Chapter 11, when Jesus was with Martha and Mary, when their brother Lazarus had died? He communicated His sorrow and empathy by weeping along with them. We can also recall times when Jesus communicated His righteous indignation against the religious leaders who were leading the people astray, or when Jesus cleared the temple in John 2:13-17, because the people made the temple which was to be a house of prayer, a den of thieves. When we read about the incident in John 8:1-11, where the Pharisees and the teachers of the law brought in a woman caught in adultery, Jesus did something unique. In that incident, Jesus just bent down and wrote on the ground, and though one does not know what He wrote, it seemed that every one of her accusers walked away from the scene. There were also other times when Jesus chose not to speak, but remained silent. We may recall the time when Jesus stood for trial before Pilate, and chose not to reply him, though he kept on questioning Him. Jesus, in His wisdom, knew that silence too, was a form of communication. Jesus’ words were so powerful that when He spoke, the sick were healed, demons fled, storms were calmed, and even the dead were raised. The words of Jesus were always full of grace, and everyone He spoke to, were renewed, refreshed and transformed.
What does the bible teach us about communication?
1. James 1:19, says, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;” (ESV) Here’s good advice if we want to improve our communication skills. Listen more, talk less and don’t lose your cool. Someone said, “No wonder God gave us two ears and one mouth, so we can listen twice as much as we speak.”
2. We read in Proverbs 15:1, “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.” (NLT) The words we speak to each other must be gentle, and never harsh or rude. The way we speak can help change a tense situation into a peaceful one or vice versa.
3. Paul exhorts us in 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." (ESV) We live in days where there is much obscenity and coarse joking, especially using social media. The word of God admonishes us that every word we speak should be wholesome and edifying to others, and should not in any way cause others to be offended.