Some of you getting this may be single. Some of you may be divorced and single. Some of you maybe married. Nevertheless, while the main theme this week is about how Satan and sin inserted themselves into the first marriage and caused a division that has been battled for millennia, there is much universal truth here that we can all glean from.
One of the biggest challenges for people is the ability to communicate. Now, add in trying to communicate between the sexes and you have introduced even more challenges because each hears and speaks and processes information differently.
Case in point, while all of us tell stories, I have found that Alicia is a storyteller when she tries to relay information. I get lost easily (sorry, I even go to sleep mentally). I just want bullet points (Inside I’m begging for her to just get down to brass tacks). Meanwhile, when I speak in short, get to the point ways, she perceives it as short, rude, unloving, and doesn’t respond well. Who’s right?
- Ephesians 4:15; 29
- but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,
- Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
- Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.
- Proverbs 15:1; 4
- A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.
- A soothing tongue is a tree of life, But perversion in it crushes the spirit.
- Proverbs 16:24 Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
- James 1:19 This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger;
- Ecclesiastes 5:2 Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few.
- Proverbs 25:11-12 Like apples of gold in settings of silver Is a word spoken in right circumstances. Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold Is a wise reprover to a listening ear.
- Galatians 5:13-15 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.
- Colossians 3:8 But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.
See a theme here? I had to restrain myself as there were still a ton more good verses, but each of these focuses on gentle, gracious speech. This is why the rough, crude Apostle John wrote so differently and gently as he did in I., II., and III. John, with such terms as “beloved”, and “little children”. He had been transformed by God from a “Son of Thunder” to a caring, loving Apostle.
What would it look like in our marriages if each of us committed to improving our communication skills? And, how much more patient and diffusing would our communications be if we didn’t respond negatively to our spouse’s harshness, or rudeness? Or impatiently to our spouse’s long-winded stories and narration? We’re all guilty of these problems, and probably many others. Communication takes work!
- Compare these two sentences:
- Let’s eat Grandma.
- Let’s eat, Grandma.
- While this is a funny example, see how one little comma changes the whole crux of this sentence’s meaning? Think about how one comma is minor yet communications-altering, and then think about how our tone of speech, the words we use, the way we receive the words of others alters our ability to affectively and lovingly communicate with our spouses.
- Consider how dangerous Twitter, Facebook, etc. are when communicating quickly in text form.
- Consider some of your communications flaws. What are the most glaring ones? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- What are some of your favorite verses about communication? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- When you read through the Gospels, notice how Jesus spoke to people. He was nice, patient, and caring towards the common sinner, yet was firm and sometimes angry at the religious leaders who were “blind leading the blind” to destruction (i.e. He held them up to a higher standard since eternity was at stake). He didn’t get into arguments with people, but carefully crafted responses upset their efforts to trap Him. He spoke with authority (which we can do when it comes to God’s Word). He was forgiving all the way to the cross.
- Now think, how often are you this patient, loving, and careful with your spouse?
- Do you think your speech to your spouse would, on average, be different if Jesus was in the same room? __________________
- Take time now to pray to God to help you change these deficiencies so that you can be the loving husband or wife God called you to be, so that you can glorify Him, so you are a good testimony to those around you (family, friends, the lost), and so your marriage will become stronger and more intimate.