I have been thinking a lot about communication recently and I realize that I am lousy at it, which is ironic given that I am paid to communicate publicly. I am really challenged in this area. What happens with me is that I have a thought in my head, then I say something which I think communicates my thought to another person, and then I assume that they have the same thought in their head that I have in my mind. I continually assume that I have communicated when I really have not.
It is those assumptions I have that trip me up all the time. And behind those assumptions are some nasty bits of soul darkness like pride, the desire to be right and putting myself above others, which is me trying to be God just like our first parents did. (There is nothing new under the sun.)
Good communication begins with a posture of humility and the assumption that I have something to learn in this exchange. This is what fosters curiosity and interest in us for the other person. When we show that we are interested we are showing that we care.The thought we have planted in our mind may have been put there by God, but we cannot assume that we have that thought in its best and final form. Sharing that thought with someone else with the assumption that my idea can be improved and I may not be communicating it properly, not only shows honor towards the other person, it allows that idea to enter the space in between two of God’s creative creations and that idea can then be refined and improved. And when two or more people become involved in a communication process anchored in humility, thoughtfulness and respect, the communication becomes very effective and creative, resulting in better solutions than either individual could have generated on their own.
Of course, not all communication is for creative purposes. Sometimes the purpose of a conversation is simply to communicate information. Sometimes one needs to confront someone else. The same principles apply. Humility, a willingness to learn and a desire to understand all help us to become better at communicating.
And our desire to communicate well is always motivated by the sweet, loving communication that God gives to us. In Psalm 85, we read:
I will listen to what God the Lord says; He promises peace to His people, His faithful servants—but let them not turn to folly. Surely His salvation is near those who fear Him, that His glory may dwell in our land. Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. The Lord will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest. Righteousness goes before him and prepares the way for his steps. (Psalm 85:8-11)
What beautiful words of love! We don’t need to be anxious or afraid, we don’t need to impose our will on others, we don’t need to make things work out the way that we think that they should. God has everything in His hands, He promises peace to His people and He will not let them end up in a hopeless place. We don’t have to be concerned about ourselves or our own personal agenda anymore. We are free to listen and love knowing that God is going to bring His very good things forward through the many circumstances in our lives.
We give thanks to God for the opportunities that He gives us to communicate with each other! We can look forward with joyful anticipation to the good things that He will bring us in the future!