Biblical Communication – Toward Redemption

This week I’m finishing out the series we’ve going through on ‘Biblical Communication’ looking at the importance of allowing communication to be “Toward Redemption.”  If you’ve missed any of the previous posts, you can read them here.

Communication is such a key part of our humanity, and is essential to leadership.  When it comes to our communication, we’ve talked about communicating with love, truth, and last week, with wisdom.  And while all of these deal ‘how’ we communicate, for this final post, I’d like to look at what is our intention and ultimate goal of communication should be as a follower of Christ…redemption.

In Proverbs 18:21, the author of this proverb writes: The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

There is no denying the power of our words.  And as is true with any power, it can be used for good or bad.  As followers of Christ, we understand that God has given us a voice to use to build up, not tear down.  This doesn’t there aren’t times we don’t correct or point out errors.  But what it does mean is that we are working toward the same thing the whole scope of scripture is…redemption.

It’s a shame the destruction and pain that is caused so often within the church because of someone’s communication.  From gossip to damaging words, followers of Christ, should always be working to redeem, not condemn or destroy.  This applies to those within the church, as well as our communication with those outside the family of God.

Just because someone has a different view, or lifestyle, or approach to life, doesn’t give any of us an excuse to tear down.  Christ’s words were always toward redemption, and as follower of Christ, our words should be as well.

So how does our communication work toward redemption?  Here are a few questions to answer:

  • What is the emotion behind what I’m saying?  Is it anger, or genuine love and concern for this person’s future?
  • Are my words being used as weapons to tear down, or tools to build up?
  • Would God agree with what I’m about to say to this person?
  • Is Christ going to be honored with my tone, my words and my intentions?

Next time you have a difficult conversation with someone, just remember: Christ’s words toward us have always been toward redemption, and our words toward others should do the same.


Biblical View of Communication – With Wisdom

Looking at a ‘Biblical View of Communication’ can be a broad spectrum, but as I’ve mentioned in past weeks, taking a scriptural approach to communication means that it should be “With Love” and “With Truth”, and this week I’d like to look at a third component to Biblical communication, which is “With Wisdom.”

The definition of wisdom is: the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action.”   My simple definition would be:  the balance of truth and love, with a little common sense.

Watching how people who claim to be ‘followers of Christ’ communicate with one another and to those outside of the family of God online, and sometimes even in person, can be incredibly troubling.  There is at times a lack of truth, sometimes a lack of love, but most often a lack of common sense.

The above definition states that wisdom is geared toward “just judgment as to action”, which essentially means that wisdom isn’t wisdom unless action is involved.  So as followers of Christ, what is the purpose of our communication?  Or in other words, what is the goal of our actions?  Our goal, according to Christ, is to “make disciples”, meaning to help people become the men and women they were created by God to be.

So communicating with wisdom is less about what we say (truth), or how we say it (love), but more to do with when we say it.  Wisdom is recognizing the right moments to say the right things. 

As followers of Christ, it’s not just saying things with the right tone, and the right amount of truth, but also at the right time.  Isn’t this true for how God interacts with us?  Romans 5:6 says that “…at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.”  God’s timing in your life has probably been just as perfect as it has been in my life.  As followers of Christ, it’s important that we aren’t just truthful, that we don’t just speak with love, but also that we use wisdom as to when we speak, or don’t speak for that matter.

Here are a few questions that can help in fleshing out wisdom in your communication:

  • Is now the best time to tell this person what I’m about to say?  
  • Is Facebook/email/a text message the best way to say this?
  • If I say this now, will that help them become more like Christ, or turn them away from Christ?

Biblical View of Communication – With Truth

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.

Biblical View of Communication – With Love

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be doing a series of posts on a “Biblical View of Communication.”  We live in one of the most communication-heavy periods in the history of mankind.  You can communicate with people in more ways today than ever before.  From email to texting, to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or the old reliable methods of a snail-mail letter or a phone call.  With all of these communication channels available to us, it is amazing how we still struggle with communication.  And this is the real issue with communication, and what we’ll be looking at over the next few weeks:  Communication is more about the heart than the words.

Not that words are important, because they are.  But ultimately the right words with the wrong heart will cause more harm than good.

Here are the four angles we’ll be looking at with communication:

  • With Love
  • With Truth
  • With Wisdom
  • Toward Redemption

To start things off, communicating in love seems like a given.  Of course we should communicate in love, but the reality is that this is easier said than done.  As a leader, it is often easier to simply speak the truth, but without love.  And while truth is important, love must precede truth.

As a follower of Christ, the Apostle Paul writes in Colossians 3 that we are to “put on love.”  Essentially that everything we do and say should be covered in love.  This sounds good in theory, but when the rubber hits the road, this gets much more difficult.  When you’re frustrated, when things don’t go your way, when obstacles are mounting and your fuse is short, then what?

Remember, Communication is more about the heart than the words.  As a leader, if you find yourself having trouble speaking in love.  Or if others are brave enough to point this out to you, it’s not simply the words you are speaking, but ultimately the heart behind the words.

Jesus shares in Luke 6 this powerful truth: “…the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”  If your words aren’t covered in love, what is your heart full of?

As a leader, and especially a leader in the church, it is crucial that your communication be ‘in love.’  As Paul writes, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” (1 Cor. 13:1)  Our words must be clothed in love.

So practically speaking, how does this apply to leaders and followers of Christ?  Ask yourselves these questions before you speak, send that email, or fire off that comment on Facebook:

  • What is the motive (or heart) behind these words?
  • Do my words reflect the love of Christ or the anger of man?
  • Is love a clear and visible component of the words I am about to share?

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