July 2, 2023
Dr. Paul Cannings
Communication can be difficult, and has become even more complex because of social media. We need help with taking the time to understand each other and sometimes are more interested in being heard, than understanding. We like others listening to us, but sometimes have no desire to listen to others. We sometimes like winning an argument rather than cultivating a relationship. At times we find it delightful to tear someone down with our words, than to build them up. “He who gives an answer before he hears, it is folly and shame to him.” (Proverb 18:13; NASB) “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Proverb 18:21; NASB) Please remember why this is said. It is written this way because the tongue never got saved (James 3:1-12), and depending on how a person uses their tongue can determine how they work out their salvation (James 1:26).
“Lincoln was extremely surprised one day when a man of rather forbidding countenance drew a revolver and thrust the weapon into his face. In such circumstances, “Abe” at once concluded that any attempt at debate or argument was a waste of time. “What seems to be the matter?” inquired Lincoln, with all the calmness and self-possession he could muster. “Well,” replied the stranger, who did not appear at all excited, “some years ago, I swore an oath that if I ever came across an uglier man than myself, I’d shoot him on the spot.” A feeling of relief evidently took possession of Lincoln at this rejoinder. “Shoot me,” Lincoln said to the stranger, “for if I am an uglier man than you, I don’t want to live.” —Benjamin Botkin Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations: Signs of the Times.
“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person.” (Colossians 4:6; NASB)
“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:29-32; NASB)
When emotions are high, tongues fly. We must remember that the tongue never got saved, and can destroy our spiritual growth if not controlled. “If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. (James 1:26-27; NASB)
The complexity of our communication can be minimized when we maximize our commitment to spiritual growth. When we gain self-control, we can better speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:11-15).