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"?
Lying. Okay, we know it’s bad but is it really always a bad thing? From a parent’s perspective, it is one of those things that is perched at the top of the “never do this” list of moral and ethical behavior. With children, the boundaries are clear and easy to define, because as we show them the difference between honesty and dishonesty, we reinforce what it means to take the high road, to be trustworthy and to be an honest and dependable friend. But what about the myriad of circumstances that arise as we become adults and begin to live in a world that is not awash in a bold contrast of right versus wrong but instead is overwhelmed with delicate shades of grey – with value judgments, personal rights and the fine line of being offensive? Are “little white lies” always wrong? What about only telling part of the truth – does that constitute a lie as well? Can lying ever be good?
A few weeks ago, we began to talk about how God communicates to us in our day. We began by looking at the biblical history of God and humanity and really spent most of our time talking about how He does NOT communicate with us now. This week we will focus on what we believe to be the provable and scriptural ways in which God Almighty DOES communicate to us as His Christian children here in the 21st century.
It is a pretty simple equation: You love God, you pray to Him, obey Him and serve Him and in return we as humans look for some kind of indication of His love and acceptance. We want to – we need to - hear from God in some way or other. So, how does He speak to us today in the 21st century? Is it through our dreams? Do we have visions? Is it through experiences? How about communicating through other people? Does God speak to us through His ancient word, the Bible? All of the above? Some of the above?
Some Christians believe speaking in tongues, meaning in a language no one in the room understands, is a definitive sign of God's approval. But is this a gift from God or a deception of Satan? If the Apostles spoke in tongues, shouldn't we expect to do so as well?
After talking about complaining last week, it makes sense to look at the flip side – how to communicate - for good and positive reasons that is! What makes a great communicator? Is it charisma? Is it your words? Your message? What about body language? Where does passion fit? What made Jesus such a master at drawing people? Does the Bible define communication the same way we do today?
Remember the commercials way back when about E.F. Hutton? The room was crowded with people all carrying on their own individual conversations and the moment one of these people quietly mentions the words E.F. Hutton, the room falls silent. The reason? Well, according to the ad, everyone wants to know what that broker has to say. Essentially, the ad portrays one specific broker with an overwhelming credibility to command respect from everyone. Do people listen to you with interest when you speak? An even better question is, do you listen with interest when others speak? Stay with us as we look into what it takes to speak and be heard, as well as what it takes to listen and comprehend.