Summary: Sixth sermon in a series on the use and abuse of the tongue.
Communication has been referred to as a “fine art.” Indeed, learning to communicate effectively to others is a life long pursuit. But it is a worth¬while pursuit. God calls upon His people to learn how to effectively communicate. In fact, He calls upon us to recognize that learning to effectively communicate with others is something that is so worthwhile that we should be willing to devote our lives to growing in this area. Refusing to learn to communicate effectively causes God’s Spirit to be grieved.
In the effort to help promote better communication between men and women, allow me to offer the following communication aid:
THE MEN’S THESAURUS
When a man says: “IT’S A GUY THING,” He means: “There is no rational thought pattern connected with this, and you have no chance at all of making it logical.”
When a man says: “CAN I HELP WITH DINNER?” He means: “Why isn’t it already on the table?”
When a man says “UH HUH, SURE HONEY,” or “YES, DEAR.” He means: Absolutely nothing - It’s a conditioned response.
When a man says: “IT WOULD TAKE TOO LONG TO EXPLAIN.” He means: “I have no idea how it works.”
When a man says: “I CAN’T FIND IT.” He means: “It didn’t fall into my outstretched hand, so I’m completely clueless.”
When a man says: “YOU LOOK TERRIFIC!” He means: “let’s go already, I’m starving.”
When a man says: “I’M NOT LOST. I KNOW EXACTLY WHERE WE ARE.” He means: "No one will ever see us alive again.”
Three boys were bragging about their fathers. One of them said, “My father is a college professor. When he is talking about a subject, only people with a college degree can understand him!” The second boy said, “My father is a brain surgeon, when he is talking about his surgery only other brain surgeons can realize what he is saying.” The third boy said, “My father is a pastor, when he is preaching, nobody can understand what he is saying.”
Well, heaven only knows, there is enough ineffective and inappropriate communication that takes place in our world today. That’s why we are told that we need to communicate in such a way as to “build others up.”
The King James Version says that we should speak in such a way as to “minister grace to the hearers.”
Effective communication is “gracious.” I want us to think together today about gracious communication. Just how do we communicate with one another in a gracious manner?
Well, as we think about the meaning of "grace" I believe we can gain insight as to how to communicate with one another graciously and bring joy to the heart of God.
1. Grace is God’s unmerited favor or blessing.
At a comparative religions conference, the wise and the scholarly were in a spirited debate about what is unique about Christianity. As the story is told, C.S. Lewis walked into the room, a little early for his presentation. He sat down and took in the conversation, which had by now evolved into a fierce debate. Finally during a lull, he spoke saying, “what’s all this rumpus about?” Everyone turned in his direction. They said, “We’re debating what’s unique about Christianity.” “That’s easy,” answered Lewis. “It’s grace.” The room fell silent. Lewis continued that Christianity uniquely claims God’s love comes free of charge, no strings attached. No other relig¬ion makes that claim.
Buddhists, for example, follow an eight-fold path to enlightenment. Hindus believe in karma - that your actions continually affect the way the world will treat you; that there is nothing that comes to you not set in motion by your actions. The Jewish code of the law implies God has requirements for people to be acceptable to him and in Is¬lam God is a God of Judgment not a God of love. You live to appease him.
At the end of the discussion everyone concluded Lewis had a point. Only Christianity dares to proclaim God’s love is unconditional. An unconditional love that we call grace. Grace is all about God and God freely giving to us the gifts of forgiveness, mercy, and love.
Now just as God has deals graciously with us, Paul says we are to deal graciously with one another. We are not to withhold encouragement until someone does something that "earns" them the right to receive an encouraging word from us. We are to encourage others freely.
The fact is that each of us needs to be encouraged. Each of us needs someone in our "”cheering section.” Like the little the little boy who said to his father: “Let’s play darts. I’ll throw and you say ‘Wonderful!’”
Freely offering encouragement to others is a practical application of our Lord’s teaching when He said, "Do for others what you would like them to do for you." - Matthew 7:12 (NLT).