If you want to nurture healthy relationships with the people you love, the people you work with and the people you engage on a daily basis, then you have to learn to communicate effectively with them.
One of the great lessons in communication is found in Proverbs 18: 13 “To answer before listening, that is folly and shame.” There are three simple principles that this little proverb teaches us. Let us briefly consider them:
1) Listen: This is a great skill that, in my view, we should all develop more fully. The ability to hear what is truly being said and to be sensitive to what is not being said. In other words, to listen with our ears and with our hearts.
2) Think: How important it is to contemplate what you have heard and to think before you open your mouth. Consider what you are going to say, because once the words are out of your mouth you cannot take them back.
3) Speak: Only after you have listened and given consideration to the words you have heard should you speak. Your words should be carefully chosen and deliberate. There is some great advice found in Ephesians 4:29 “ Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
What amazing advice we find in the Bible. Imagine if we all developed the skills of listening, thinking and then carefully answering so that ‘it may benefit those who listen.’ I want the kind of relationships that will be strong and healthy. I know that to ensure that they are sound and secure I need to work at my communication skills – listen, think and then speak with wisdom.
For those that are struggling in their relationship with their spouse, child, friend, family member or work colleague, I exhort you to heed the advice of this proverb. I am sure it will reap benefits for you and for those that you care about.
I am and always will be,
Recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,