53: Communication from the Heart
For those who are keeping track of how many days you have read the bible in 2014, either as families or individually, we are having trouble fixing the website for you to log in your numbers. At the end of June, send me your tallies and I will manually tabulate the results and figure out the winners. The contest runs from January 1 to June 30, 2014. I’m looking forward to hearing from each of you.
Special Summer Bible Contest
Throughout the winter and spring, many of you have heard me speak or met me at a conference and recently signed up for this newsletter. I want you to have an opportunity to receive prizes and be rewarded for reading the Bible as a family and individually. So we will be having a Summer/Fall Contest for you. It will begin August 1 and go through October 31. We will add more details at the end of July.
Communication From the Heart
Communication is the fodder of relationship. It is the lifeline of connection with another person. We grow in our understanding of each other, and learn how to love one another, through our ability to express and hear what is in our hearts.
I am learning that my words have the potential to bring life and healing, and they can hurt and destroy. Unfortunately the people I am most prone to not choose my words carefully are those closest to me, in my own family. I can be kind to the bank teller, the grocer, and the waitress but wound and squelch my wife and my children. Learning how to be gentle in my speech and build up those around me is now my top priority.
I just finished a two part study on communication for our small group. The first session focused on the heart and how to speak. The next session was how to be a good listener. One of the men in our group rightly observed that as Christians, we are focused on what we say, and not how we say it.
After all, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. He was, and is, the word made flesh. As a result we diligently seek, and rightfully so, to be faithful to scripture and make sure the content of our speech is accurate and true.
But we sometimes forget to speak the truth, “in love.” In my experience, how I speak, and the tone of my of voice when I speak, is at least as important as what I speak. For if I am not speaking in love, I will not be heard, regardless of the truth I am trying to convey.
Our tone emanates from within our heart. “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Matthew 12:34 When our heart is in a good place, and our spirit is controlled, then we are able to speak in a way that reaches people’s heart, and feeds their spirit, as well as their mind.
An important verse to me on this subject is a description of Jesus in Matthew 12:20 “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, or as another translation renders it, “He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle.” Jesus was careful to not crush or wound with His speech.
Jesus is also described as “gentle and lowly in heart,” Matthew 11:29. Since we know that our mouth speaks what is in our heart, we understand how Jesus edified rather than wounded His listeners. When we are gentle, humble, and grounded in Christ, we are prepared to speak the truth in the proper tone of voice.
1 Corinthians 13:1 “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” I so want to have an edifying tone along with accurate content, lest I be noisy and clanging, ouch.
The best way I know to speak the truth in love, is to spend time seeking God each day to be gentle and lowly in heart, so that the words that proceed from within will “give grace to those that hear” Ephesians 4:29.
May we each “let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts,” Colossians 3:15, so that “the words of our mouth and the meditation of our heart are acceptable in your sight, O LORD, our Rock and our Redeemer” Psalms 19:14. (Pronouns made plural by me)
Have a Blessed Memorial Day weekend,
PS I have recorded three podcasts on this topic: Numbers 14-16
PPS I have posted an idea for Memorial Day here.