Summary: We may live in the golden age of technology, but we still don't seem to be able to communicate.

“Building Quality Relationships: With Christians – Master Communication”

Eph. 5:15-20

A woman went to court and told the judge she wanted a divorce. “Do you have any grounds?” the judge asked. “Just two acres,” she replied. “That’s not it, lady. I mean, do you have a grudge?” “No, we park the car in the front of the house.” Frustrated, the judge continued: “Does your husband beat you up?” She replied, “No, I get up before he does.” “Then why do you want a divorce?” the judge queried. “Because,” she confessed, “we just don’t seem to be able to communicate.”

We may live in the golden age of technology, but we still don’t seem to be able to communicate. In our government, our families, our workplaces, our schools, and even in our churches good communication, although vital, is often lacking. And that means it’s hard to build quality relationships. So this morning we consider, first of all, THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNICATION. To communicate, at its core, is to impart knowledge or to make known, to transmit to another. It can be a one-way street; I impart, you listen. But that may not build good relationships. It’s like a cartoon from some years ago that portrayed a professor beginning a lecture on communication with these words: “Communication is any modus operandi by or through which eventuates the reciprocal transposition of information between or among entities or groups via commonly understood systems of symbols, signs or behavioral patterns of activity.” He communicated, he imparted – but he was not building any good relationships. We’re talking about a deeper meaning of communication where there is a giving or interchanging of thoughts, feelings, or information. As Grady Nutt wrote in an article for families, communication is “sharing ideas, time, interests, things, concerns; ultimately, it is deep care and love for each other that gets said and gets heard.” (1)

Without this two-way communication we cannot have viable, vital relationships. Good communication is NECESSARY FOR RELATIONSHIPS. Think of it this way. Suppose that each week when you came here for worship I simply stood up here and said nothing – you just spent an hour looking at me standing here. Would we have much of a relationship? Or imagine that all I did was read you the Hebrew or Greek words of the Scriptures for the day; it would impart some knowledge. But would it build much of a relationship? Or, looking at it in a different context, what kind of a relationship would I have with Barb if all I ever did was impart knowledge to her but never shared ideas, time, or interests out of deep care and love? Two-way sharing is vital and necessary for relationships.

It is also NECESSARY FOR UNDERSTANDING. Something not only gets said but it also gets heard. That means it must be spoken or communicated in a language that both the hearer and receiver can understand. Without a common language there is no real communication and there can be no understanding. There’s an ancient story about a group of pilgrims traveling across a desert to visit ancient holy shrines and temples. After several days’ journey they saw a great cloud of dust in the distance moving towards them. The leader said “I fear it’s a band of murderous thieves! Let us take shelter behind that sand dune!” They did so and waited until the cloud of dust stopped on the other side of the dune. The leader climbed to top of dune and there met man with a long white beard who had climbed up other side. Neither could speak the other’s language so they tried sign language. After a while both returned to their people. The pilgrim’s leader was smiling. “My children, I have just met the holiest of the holy….When we met face to face we could not speak each other’s language, so I decided to use sign language. With my finger I drew a circle in the sand, to indicate that we are all one in this world. He looked at the circle and then he drew a line through it. He meant, of course, that there are two worlds: the earthly and the heavenly. To show him I understood, I pointed upward with my finger to indicate that we are all one under God. Then he reached into his tunic and took out an onion which he then gave to me. Of course I understood that it indicated the multiple layers of understanding available to everyone. And to show him I understood his meaning, I ate the onion. Then I reached into my tunic and offered him an egg. But he was too humble to accept my gift. He just turned and walked away. Truly, I have seen the holiest of holy men.” On the other side the bearded man met with his bandits who had swords drawn, ready for battle. “We are in grave danger. Never have I met a more blood-thirsty man in my life. Here is what happened: When we came face to face, we immediately knew we could not speak the same tongue. That man drew a circle in the sand. Of course, I understood it to say that we are surrounded. I took my finger and I drew a line through his circle, to indicate that we would cut them in half. Then he raised his finger to the sky as if to say that he could take us on all by himself. Then I gave him an onion to suggest that he would soon taste the bitter tears of death. But he proceeded to eat the onion, in defiance. Then he handed me an egg, to show me how fragile our position is. Let’s get out of here.” (2) Common language is vital to communication and understanding.

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