As human beings, we are not immune to miscommunications, misunderstandings or arguments and are guilty of not always finding the "right" words to say in the tone we want to tell them while in conversation.
It's easy to give into frustration when...
- You misinterpret instructions at your place of work that creates a cycle of miscommunication.
- You analyze a situation based on facts and data while your spouse looks at it predominantly through the lens of emotions, or vice versa.
- You send or receive a text message about a conversation that should be in person, and it's taken the wrong way for whatever reason.
- You engage in a social media exchange with a person who has a different point of view, but neither one of you takes the time to hear the heart of where the other person is coming from.
The list goes on and on.
We see this playing out in our families, relationships, place of work, culture and even the Church at large.
One of the gifts on the day of Pentecost (the birthday of the Church) in Acts 2 was that the Holy Spirit was poured out on the 120 people in the Upper Room. The people weren't just given power from on high but the gift of communication to spread the gospel. While Satan is the author of confusion, God is the one who brings unity through the Holy Spirit, and it's through the gift of communication.
As followers of Jesus, it means we can walk by the Spirit every day in our ordinary lives and with the numerous interactions we have with others. When we give ourselves over to the Holy Spirit, it doesn't mean we are going to agree with all people or even all Christians on a variety of issues, but what it does say is that we can communicate with one another in a spirit of unity.
I can still love you when we disagree or have been hurt, or even when we have been misunderstood. God's love is the most prominent sign of being filled with the Holy Spirit. It's also the evidence that Jesus talked about how the world can recognize we are different. In John 13:34-35 Jesus says, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
So how do we practice God's love in our communication?
•Assume positive intent from another person before jumping to conclusions.
•Think before we speak.
•Don't talk out of anger or wrath.
•Listen intently to the other person instead of only thinking about how we are going to respond.
•Don't give up.
The gift of communication is something God desires for all God's followers. Let us be people of clear communication, not giving up on one another, but loving one another each day with God's love.