Meditation – The heart of good communication.
by Isaac Overton
In his book “War of Words”, Paul David Tripp rightly says: “There is nothing we depend on more than our ability to give and receive communication… Words direct our existence and our relationships. They shape our observations and define our experiences. We really come to know each other through conversation”. Scripture is saturated with the proof of Tripp’s observation: God founded the very world on speech (Gen 1:3, 5, 6; etc). The relationship between God and his people is defined by speech (Gen 35:13; Ex 6:2; 19:19; Lev 18:2; Deut 18:20; Heb 13:7; etc). People-topeople relationships are the same. When God brought the woman to the man, it was no silent response, he spoke! The relationship began as Adam declared who she was, and thus the fusion and nature of their relationship was established and finalized (Gen 2:23-24) – all resting on the foundation of communication and speech.
With this in mind, it’s not hard to see the importance of communicating well. In fact, Scripture says that we will each be held accountable for every word that we have spoken. In Matthew 12:36 we read: “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” This is a confronting thought is it not? Each and every word we have spoken will be weighed and measured before the judgment throne of God. Our words matter. “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless” (James 1:26). Frankly speaking, this verse – as one commentator put it – is “spiritually terrifying”.
The question then before us is this: how can we, like Titus, become men “sound in speech,” not to be condemned by any in our words? (Titus 2:8). The task is immense. “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). So important (and difficult) is speaking well that James says controlling it is akin to living perfectly. There is much work to do in learning well the skill of communication! So… where do we begin?
The first step to solving our communication troubles is to be in the habit of drawing near to God.
Jesus revealed a profound truth to us in Matthew 12:34: “…out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” The basic issue, therefore, in communicating well is to have one’s heart set upon Christ and full of his light and love. Loving God remains the primal dimension of godliness, and that’s as true in our speech as it is in any other area of our lives. Loving God flows directly into communicating well. Proverbs 16:23 also highlights this truth: “The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips.”
One of the peculiar privileges of being a pastor is that you generally get to chose an agenda for your preaching and writing. More often than not, that agenda focuses in on our weak-points as pastors. This is an area where I’ve got a lot of growing to do, perhaps you do too. As we draw near to Christ, growing in wisdom through his word (1 Cor 1:24), he will fill our hearts with wisdom and our speech will thenreflect that growth inmaturity. Brothers and sisters, love God! Love his Word, draw near to him always, and pray regularly that the Lord would help you to communicate well. SDG.