Summary: 3 tips to make sure we are getting our messages across.
Relationships Are Everything
According to an Italian newspaper, one Italian man recently became so frustrated with his wife’s badgering that he had himself arrested just to have one night’s peace in a jail cell. However, ten minutes after being securely locked away for the night because of pretending to be publicly intoxicated, he was shocked by what he saw. In walked his wife in cuffs, and she was placed in the cell next to him. Apparently, the wife had learned of his plot, and she also got herself arrested. She knew the jail only had two cells, so she figured she would have a captive audience for her complaints all through the night. Shakespeare said it best this way – “Oh what tangled webs we weave when we practice to deceive.”
When I look at this situation, it becomes easy to see what the greatest problem was in their relationship. They were very poor communicators. The man perceived her words as being badgering, and she found him to be a poor listener. And, since they refused to improve on their communication, they found themselves in a situation that was far from ideal. However, I don’t think these are the only two people who have ever lacked in the area of communication. I think that the majority of people need help when it comes to communicating more effectively. After all, studies find time and again that the most difficult problem in relationships is communication.
One job where it pays to be an effective communicator is being a lawyer. After all, you must be able to communicate your case to a judge or jury in order for you to be effective and win trials. Well, even lawyers could use some help sometimes in this area. The Massachusetts Bar Association Journal printed the following questions actually asked of witnesses during a trial.
• Question – Were you alone or by yourself?
• Question – Was it you or your younger brother who was killed in the war?
• Question – You were there until you left, is that true?
• Question – Can you describe the individual? Answer – He was about medium height and had a beard. Question – Was he male or female?
• Question – Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people? Answer – All of my autopsies are performed on dead people.
You see, even some of the most trained people in the area of communication need help from time to time. This is because school learning is incomplete at times. We must look to the ultimate authority of the Bible in this instance because it will give us all we need to know about communication. Turn with me this morning to James 1:19 to gain insight into this topic.
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.
This morning, this message is for you. How do I know this? Because the verse says it is for everyone. This morning, we are going to glean three tips from this Scripture in order that we may be more effective communicators. Before we do this, let’s look to the Lord in prayer.
Tip #1: Be Quick to Listen.
Two psychiatrists met at their 20th college reunion. One is vibrant, while the other looks withered and worried. “So what’s your secret?” the older looking psychiatrist asks. “Listening to other people’s problems every day, all day long, for years on end, has made an old man out of me.” “So,” replies the younger looking one, “who listens?”
That is the question indeed. Who listens? Certainly, mothers, you could answer this question well. After all, the kids don’t listen all the time. Otherwise, you wouldn’t ever have to use the phrase, “How many times do I have to tell you to…” And, you know for a fact that your husband is not always listening – especially if the TV is on. I am guilty of it myself. Sometimes you feel like you are the teacher on Charlie Brown. You are talking but all everyone hears is, “Wa wa wahn wa wa.” People just are not good listeners. They either are just hearers or they are busy planning what to say next.
This morning, I thought we would play a little game with the kids. I need all the kids to come up front and make a line. Now, I want you to try as hard as you can to listen to your neighbor. I am going to whisper something in the first kid’s ear, and then they are going to pass it on. Then, when we get to the end, I want the last person to tell me what was said. Let’s try it.