Communication is an innate part of being human, and yet communication comes with complications. That’s because through communication things happen…life happens…change happens.
- One “You look nice today” can completely change a person’s outlook.
- A simple “We’ve missed you” can bring such incredible value to a relationship.
These simple words of encouragement can brighten a person’s day and remind them of the value that they possess as a human being. But the opposite is true as well. We’ve all heard the saying as kids, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” While that’s a nice saying, it isn’t really accurate. Words can bring great pain and sorrow.
- To hear from your father “You’re worthless” or “You’ll never amount to anything” could devastate a person.
- Being told by your child “You’re a terrible mother” could send a person spiraling out of control emotionally.
The words of Proverbs 18 are so true: “The tongue has the power of life and death…”
So our communication can both build up or tear down. As I discussed in my last post, the issue isn’t in your words, but your heart. But as a follow-up your words still do matter. And that brings us to this next aspect of biblical communication: Truth.
I know. Of course truth should be part of our communication. But in reality, is it always? Part of our wiring as human beings is the desired to be loved, liked and pleasing to those around you. Except for a few angry souls out there, most of us generally enjoy it when people have a fond view of us. So deep down inside, a lot of us are naturally ‘people pleasers.’ There’s nothing wrong with that – in fact, it’s this basic wiring that keeps many of us from being jerks (which is a really good thing!). But the problem with being a ‘people pleaser’ is we often withhold the truth when it could actually do a lot of good.
You see, while words can build up or tear down, sometimes our lack of words can do that same thing. There are moments when our truthful words can actually help us out. If I walk out of the bathroom in the morning with a completely mismatched outfit that screams, “This guy has to be color-blind!”, I would hope my wife would tell me the truth and tell me a I look like a clown. That’s not a hurtful thing, but those words of truth will help me avoid a long, embarrassing day.
Words carry the power of life and death, but so do our lack of words. Don’t withhold the truth, because your words could be the difference between growth and transformation in someone’s life, or mediocrity. Your ability to speak the truth with love, could literally change a person’s future. Iron sharpens iron, not by appeasing, but by helping, encouraging, and speaking with truth.
With that said, here are a few thoughts on communicating with truth:
- The goal is building up, not tearing down. Truth should always be covered in love.
- Don’t use truth as a weapon, but rather as a tool to encourage and strengthen.
- When you create an environment around you that combines both truth and love, you’ll find healthy relationships and healthier self-awareness.
- Love is not communicated through flowery words, but through truth that helps another grow into the man or woman God created them to be.