I speak on communication in marriage tonight here at Harvest Elgin. I am looking forward to it. I thought I would share some of the things that I learned as I was preparing.
It's incredible to think that at one time on this earth that there was perfect communication. Of course this was before sin entered the world. Ever since then there has been problems with our communication. Here are a few of the negative things that we do in our communication. We nag one another. I found a great quote by Ann Landers on nagging. She said that nagging is like being nibbled to death by a duck. Proverbs compares nagging to a continual dripping on a rainy day (Pr.27:15)
Yet nagging is something that all of us can fall into to in our communication. We often communicate to get something out of it. We want people to reaffirm us and tell us how well we are doing and how "great" we are. Our communication is often self focused. We are focusing not on what the other person is saying, but rather waiting for them to finish so that we can talk. We also use our words as a weapon. The person who said that sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me...was a liar. We often tear people down and hurt them with our words. We use our words to gain an advantage over others. Words are used to manipulate.The tongue is a powerful thing. James wrote, " For ?we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body." (James 3:2) Yet in Christ we can use our tongue in ways that bring Him honor and glory.
The base text that I am looking at tonight is Ephesians 4:25-32. We learn 4 important principles in communication that need to be applied in our homes and in our churches. First, we see in Ephesians 4:25 that we need to be honest with one another. Sorry guys, but you will notice that verse commands us to speak! Grunts and head nods are not sufficient if we are to fulfill our role as husbands, fathers and brothers in Christ. I am a slow learner. I am just realizing that Heather can not read my mind...not always anyways :)! When we speak we need to do it honestly and lovingly. Paul shows us not just the moral principle, but also the motivation behind being honest with one another. He says for you are members one of another. Chrystostom wrote, "If the eye sees a serpent, does it deceive the foot? If the tongue tastes what is bitter, does it deceive the stomach? Lying is a gross hindrance of the proper functioning of the body." As devasting as it would be for pieces of our physical body to deceive one another so it is in our relationships. We must speak the truth lovingly to one another out of our concern for one another.
Second, we need to do is to keep short accounts with one another. Eph.4:26,27 "Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil." If we allow time to pass before getting things right we open ourselves to resentment and bitterness and give the devil an opportunity to tempt you to sin even further.
Third, we need to use our tongue to edify and not tear down. Ephesians 4:29 "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." "No corrupting talk" is any talk that tears another person down. How do you use your words? Are people encouraged after they have spent time with you or have you torn them down in some way? How many of our conversations everyday would be different if we would just apply this verse everytime. How do you do in this area when it comes to your interactions with your spouse?
Here is a sobering thought. When we do not build up, but rather tear down your spouse or others we not only hurt them, but we also grieve the Holy Spirit. This should stop us in our tracks and snap us to attention. The way we treat others has the possibility of grieving the Holy Spirit. This thought should drive us to be on our knees asking God to enable us to have no corrupting talk come out of our mouths, but only words that build up.
Fourth, Paul concludes by showing once again the things which must be put away and the things which must be put on. The things that are to be put off are bitterness, anger, wrath, clamor, slander and malice. Instead, we need to be kind, tender hearted and forgiving. We need to be compassionate and seeking to do good to others. How do you apply this to your spouse? When is the last time you thought about how you could be a blessing to him or her? When is the last time you thought about how to be compassionate to your spouse? How quick are you to forgive?
How are you doing in these 4 principles of communication? The Lord cares about how we communicate to one another. May He be honored in the way that we communicate with one another.