Summary: Using Ephesians 4 let's improve our communication (Material adapted from Wayne A. Mack's book, Strengthening Your Marriage, Unit 4 Good Communication, pgs. 65- 67 and several sermons on Sermon Central)
While attending a marriage seminar on communication... Tom and his wife Peg listened to the instructor declare, "It is essential that husbands and wives know the things that are important to each other." He addressed the men, "Can you describe your wife's favorite flower?" Tom leaned over, touched his wife's arm gently and whispered, "Pillsbury All Purpose, isn't it?" The rest of the story is not pleasant.
Beginning of Ephesians 4 talks about the church and how she is set up. After this Ephesians 4:15: “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” The verses on communication from Ephesians 4 can be summed up with this one phrase, “speaking the truth in love.” Expand this some and we need to THINK before we speak. T- Is this true H- Is this helpful I- Is this inspirational? N- Is this necessary? K- Is this kind? THINK
In the marriage relationship, communication is survival. This is essential. Where this is lacking, the marriage relationship deteriorates and dies. Where communication is healthy, the marriage relationship flourishes, and the two become one.
Thesis: Using Ephesians 4 let’s improve our communication
Vs. 25- Is it true?
The word “put off” means to discard, to strip off, to cast away. God is telling us to get rid of any falsehood and to start practicing some truth telling. This verse really speaks about relationships in the church between believers. Christians are to be truth tellers, not people who lie to one another. If we are serious about being a Christ-follower, then we must be honest.
In the book, “The Day America Told the Truth,” by James Patterson, the author reports the following survey results: 91% of Americans lie routinely about matters they consider trivial; 1 out of 3 lie about important matters; 86% lie on a regular basis to their parents ; 75% lie to their friends; 7 out of 10 married people lie to their spouses
It’s not easy to tell the truth -- especially when it might hurt someone. But, if we value good relationships, and take seriously what God says, it’s essential to develop this first skill in conflict resolution. We can’t build a relationship if truth and honesty are not valued. What this means is that we will choose to do not what’s easy, but what’s right -- to be honest, to speak the truth -- even if it means going through a tunnel of chaos.
Are we a truth-teller or a peace-keeper? Given a choice, most of us would like to just keep the peace. We think that if we’re honest with people, they’ll push us away. We’d rather not tell our boss what we’re really thinking because he or she would just get angry. We’d rather not tell our spouse something because he or she will just get defensive. We’d rather not tell our teacher or parents the truth because they just wouldn’t understand.
Friends, when we submerge our true feelings to preserve harmony, we will undermine the integrity of our relationships. We might think we’re keeping the peace, but those feelings will go underground and eventually erupt. And, for those who are married, we will never have a marriage of oneness if we don’t value authenticity, honesty and truth telling even if it puts us in a bad light or causes strife. Is it true? But if we start telling the truth, then...
Vs. 26-27- Is it necessary?
Applied to a marriage relationship, this means that anger between a husband and wife must be dealt with immediately and conclusively.
Now there are some things that are not worth bringing up (Is this necessary?). However, in a marriage relationship, there are things that are necessary, that must be lovingly and boldly faced, discussed and, if possible, resolved.
It might be surprising to know that God says anger is OK -- after all, it’s an emotion that He created. When we are angry, don’t deny it. I’m often guilty of this. I used to be a bottler. I’d just bury it my feelings. To bottle anger is similar to trying to bury toxic waste. It will eventually leak out, poisoning myself and others. Bottled anger always leaks. Anger turned inward seeps out internally and can lead to depression. Others deal with anger in different ways.
The best way to handle anger is to be an expresser. When they’re angry, they express it -- appropriately. Friends, there is good anger and there’s a type of anger that leads to sin. God wants us to be expressers.
How do we express anger appropriately? God gives us the answer in the second half of verse 26: “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” What the Bible is teaching here is that we need to deal with anger in a timely fashion. Don’t let it simmer or fester. If anger is not expressed appropriately, it will wipe out relationships like a raging tidal wave.