We all need to be heard, and we all need to be acknowledged. We all need that feeling of validation that comes with being personally recognized as having value, and all of this comes through the important tool of communication. The problem is that we have become terrible at both the giving and receiving ends of the communication spectrum. Somehow we think that posting, texting, tweeting and emojis can replace actual conversation, looking someone in the eye, feeling their emotions or touching their shoulder. Whether it is our lack of attention span, our need for convenience, personal laziness or simply not knowing what we are missing, we have seemingly deserted real true person-to-person communication and replaced it with cold and emotionless technology. So, what do we do? How do we relearn both the giving and receiving ends of this invaluable and necessary tool for a fulfilled life called “communication”?
One of the first things to realize is that the Bible doesn’t use the word “communication” in nearly the same way that we do now. In the Bible, communication is always about the idea of mutual support in a very tangible sense. When the Apostle Paul thanks certain ones of the brotherhood for “communicating” with him (this is a phrase often found in the King James Version) he is thanking them for their physical support of him in the hardships he encountered while preaching. They helped him by supplying food and the basic necessities of life – they helped support him as he supported others through the Gospel. When we think of communicating, we think of touching someone’s heart or sharing the emotions of an experience. Very different. Both important.
What do we learn from this? Most importantly, I think we can learn how deeply important it was for the early Christians to spread the Word of God and how their entire focus was on the work and not on how they felt about things. This is not to say that we should ignore feelings, but it is saying that those things that we naturally view as primary communication areas are NOT the most important types of communicating we should be involved in. Now let’s not get carried away here…just because something is not the most important primary objective of life does not mean that it should be ignored!
On the contrary, the Apostle Paul was a MASTER at speaking to people’s hearts and having those he spoke to actually listen and speak back to him! How did he do that? He did it by first taking the time to observe and learn about those with whom he was communicating. After this he applied his communication with great respect for those he was speaking with – he met them where they were, found the good in them and then proceeded to deliver his message. Whether this sounds easy or difficult to you, it truly is just scratching the surface of a matter that needs more than just scratching – it needs to be dug into!
Please take the time to check out our June 12, 2017 podcast, “Why Doesn’t Anyone Listen to Me?” and give yourself the opportunity to dig deeply into the fertile ground of communicating. You just might walk away having planted seeds of understanding that can grow to feed your everyday communication and bring it to an entirely new level!