Summary: Communication is not a luxury--it is a necessity, especially in today’s family. James 1:19 outlines three simple ways to improve your family’s communication lines.

Do You Read Me? … Over

James 1:19

by David O. Dykes


This is the second message in the series entitled, “Family: An Endangered Species?” Last week I shared six common characteristics strong families share. One of them was the ability to communicate well as a family. Whether you are a single parent, a retired couple, or a blended family with a household of kids, you do communicate with some family members. The question I want you ask is: How well does my family communicate with each other?

The book of James has some great wisdom to improve your family communication. “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” (James 1:19) There are three laws of personal communication in this verse. These three rules of personal communication apply to communication between husbands and wives and between parents and children. If you don’t qualify in those categories, pay attention, because these laws rule at work as well as in your friendships. These three laws of personal communication are extremely important. If you violate these three rules, you will suffer in many ways. But if you follow these three simple rules, you will be effective in communicating to your family members or to your co-workers. The first one is:


When the Bible says, “quick to listen” it means you must pay close attention when someone is speaking to you. Just because you are listening to words doesn’t mean you really hear what is being said. All of us can be sitting on the couch reading the newspaper when the television is on. The sound waves of the words are reaching our ears, but we aren’t paying attention. We aren’t really hearing and understanding what is being said. We can do the same thing in family communication.

When you discover a word or phrase Jesus used over and over again, pay attention. On repeated occasions when Jesus was teaching, He stopped and said, “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23) The Message paraphrases it: “Are you listening to this? REALLY listening?” The reason Jesus said that was because He knew not only do we have the ability to tune someone out; we have a tendency to do it.

Good listening is basically a matter of concentration. The more important you consider the message, the more you will concentrate on it. I’ve been with families when a surgeon entered the waiting room after surgery. Family members are listening fast–they are concentrating on what the doctor has to say. By the way, I’ve discovered people who say they can’t remember names usually remember the name of a new doctor–even if he’s named Dr. Kapaloupsky. It’s simply a matter of importance and concentration. Conversely, we tend to be lazy listeners when we consider a message to be unimportant. The title of this message is “Do you read me? ... over” It comes from my experience of talking on the radio as a private pilot. I’ve been flying airplanes now for 27 years, and good radio communication is an absolute necessity. In fact, it’s the law. Even if you talk on a CB or other two-way radio, sometimes you have to say, “Do you read me? ... over” and you wait for a response.

I believe we need to apply that principle to family communication as well. I think husbands and wives need to stop sometimes in the middle of a conversation and say, “Do you read me? ... over” Parents and kids ought to stop sometime and say, “Do you read me? ... over.”

Let me teach you a little about air traffic communication so we can learn an important lesson about communication in general. For instance, I flew down to Galveston on Saturday a week ago, and my radio communication went something like this: As I sat in the airplane out at Pounds Field, before I taxied, I listened to the Automatic Terminal Information System which is a recorded statement that gives the weather, barometric pressure, and which runways are in use. After listening and writing down the information I called the tower and said:

“Tyler Pounds Ground Control, Cherokee 9497W.”

“Cherokee 9497W, go ahead,” The tower responded.

“97W is at Johnson Aviation with Victor, IFR to Galveston, ready to copy my clearance.” The tower said, “97W is cleared as filed to the Galveston airport, maintain 3,000 feet expect 7,000 feet one zero minutes after departure. Departure frequency is 128.75. Squawk 2756,” I said.

Before I can take off, I am required by Federal Aviation Regulations to repeat that information back to him, so I say:

“97W is cleared as filed to the Galveston airport, maintain 3,000 expect 7,000 one zero minutes after departure. Departure frequency is 128.75 Squawk 2756. Ready to taxi.”

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