Is it fair to say that we are not communicating well these days?
Can I get an “amen” on that?
In a world with an incredible number of communication tools and technology, why is it that we . . .
talk AT each other
refuse to consider other viewpoints or opinions
assume the worst about each other
prefer yelling in the streets to speaking in private spaces
harden our hearts to others before they even utter a word
jump on the bandwagon of hate-filled rhetoric that divides us?
It’s precisely those communication tools – social media – that keep us physically far apart and make it easier to sling around the dirt that blinds us to truth.
It’s hard, impossible actually, to hate up close.
If there’s anything, anyone, that will change today’s hateful narrative, it’s falling down on our knees in prayer, sacrificially loving people like Jesus did when he went to the cross, and doing the exact opposite of what the world does: humbly serving others.
T’Shana Everitt (https://www.yourfuturehope.com), a marriage and family therapist specializing in therapy for treating anxiety, couple and family relationships, has five “Words to the Wise” regarding effective communication:
“#1 The key to effective communication, whether at work or at home, is NOT using the right words to get your point across but listening to gain understanding of the other person’s point so that you know what points you agree on already and where you need to work to come together.
Every action and word used in the process should reflect that you are both on the same team.
#2 No matter the feelings we have for others — love, hate, anger, pride, or disappointment — they must be nurtured to be sustained. Knowing this allows us to nurture healthy feelings and starve unhealthy feelings with our thoughts and actions.
#3 When working on building or healing a family, it’s important to first identify what your home would be like if it were a “haven” for you to come home to.
But shortly after this, we must ask the most important question, “What am I doing to help create that kind of haven?”
#4 It’s important for couples to remember that they must function as a unit rather than as individuals. If it’s hurtful, degrading, or offensive and you wouldn’t do it to yourself, it should be avoided.
#5 Rather than spending excessive time and effort trying to control other people, our energy is better spent deciding on an appropriate and beneficial response.”
So what feelings will you choose to “nurture”?
Hurt? Anger? Pride? Hatred?
Love? Compassion? Humility? Understanding?
Today the label of “Christian” has a negative connotation. The world says if you’re a Christian, you must be the following: racist, hater, judgmental, ignorant, etc. There are certainly some of those, but that’s not what Jesus intended his followers to be.
He said that all people are worthy of love, compassion . . . all people.
It would be a monumental feat, but how about if we, as Everitt says, “nurture healthy feelings and starve unhealthy feelings with our thoughts and actions.”
Nurture that compassion you feel for a stranger.
Starve that feeling of distrust that the world says we should have right now.
Doing so could change the world . . . one God-given life at a time.