There is one thing that everyone has in common in regards to communication: we can always grow. Like other things in life, communication doesn’t have a finish line. There was only one perfect communicator and He had the ability to see in peoples’ hearts. His name is Jesus. We can learn a lot from the way He communicated, but when it comes down to it, we aren’t Him. We can strive to grow and become more Christ-like. We can work out our salvation. However, we will never be perfect.
I have been reading James 3. James wrote about the tongue and the evil that it can spark. Miscommunication can destroy relationships, tear down organizations, and cause our hearts to become hard and bitter. James wrote: “3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire,a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” – James 3:3-6
James likens control over our tongue to bits put into the mouths of hoses or a rudder to a ship. The bit and the rudder control direction. Bitter words will lead to a bitter destination. Loving words will lead to a loving destination. Even with this realization, James later wrote, “…no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” – James 3:8
It would seem self defeating, but its not. Because we can grow. We can first find rest in Christ from our failures, from our misunderstandings, from our lack of or bad communication skills. From there, we can leave our failures in the past and move forward into the future. Christ commanded us to love one another, and for us to be able to do that well, we have to learn how to communicate lovingly and not harshly. Paul wrote “12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:12-13.
In our communication with one another, even as we are hurting or feel slighted, we can choose to put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. We can grow toward one another instead of escalating and fighting for the right to be right.
I write this tonight, and I failed horribly at this today. However, there is hope. There is Jesus.
Where have you failed to communicate? What can you do to seek amends?