LifeLink Devotions (Click here for audio blog)
Monday, March 14, 2022
One day a man was driving down a lonely stretch of country road, when he saw another car approaching. As the car got closer, he observed the driver waving her hand out the window. He was totally focused on her, and as they passed, she was screaming at him. The only word he heard was “Pig!” He was furious, and immediately yelled back, “Idiot!” He was still looking at her in his rearview mirror when he crashed into a huge pig that was standing in the road.
Clear communication is so very important. In just one verse of Scripture today we are given several principles that will help us be better communicators.
Ephesians 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.“
First, good communication is motivated by the needs of others and not our own needs. The woman who yelled “pig” was not satisfying some emotional need to belittle another person to elevate her own worth, but she was attempting to help another person. She observed a need, and she tried to meet it. So much of our communication is wrapped up in self and not in others. That’s why we get in trouble with our words. Communication that is intended to draw attention to self will result in hurt and shame, both to the hearer and the speaker. When we learn to seek the benefit of others we will be seen as exceptional communicators.
Second, we are to be in control of our words. Words are a choice. We must learn to make wise choices about words. We are to be in control of our words, so that no unwholesome talk comes out of our mouths. Words are an indicator of what’s in our heart. Jesus said, “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” Jesus also said, “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’” Hurtful words that come from our mouth originate in a sinful heart.
Finally, being a good communicator doesn’t require good listeners. What? You heard right. Good communication does not require people to listen. Our Scripture does not say that our words will benefit everyone. It says they are to be spoken so that they will benefit those who choose to listen. Not everyone chooses to listen. Does that mean we are communicating poorly? Not necessarily. If our communication is wholesome and spoken to benefit another person and meet their needs, and if our words will build that person up and help them grow in the spiritual maturity, then our communication is good. It is now their choice to listen or not. We are not responsible for the application of our communication: we are only responsible for the content and motive of our words.
Some people will listen. Others will crash into pigs. We do not take credit for those who listen, and we do not take responsibility for those who don’t. If we have designed our words based on the need of the person to whom we are speaking, then we have fulfilled our responsibility. Don’t get trapped in the bondage of believing that we are responsible for the results. That’s God’s territory, not ours. We are only responsible to communicate the truth out of our love for others. God handles the application.