Saturday, November 30, 2013

Keys to Good Communication

The holidays can bring a lot of stress or they can bring a great deal of blessing, but what you receive out of it (and what you inevitably give to others) hinges on one very important issue: communication.

How information is shared through the way people communicate to one another is a vital key to whether or not relationships are healthy and strong, or whether they become weakened by repeated injury. Injury is incurred when communication disregards or devalues someone else’s feelings. Verbal and non-verbal clues include sarcasm, interrupting others to challenge what is said, insisting our way is correct (which leaves others feeling invalidated, hurt and angered), silence, withholding love or conversation, or other forms of cold love. We may not always see eye to eye with others, but we do need to demonstrate the same consideration and respect as we would want others to show us. When respect in communication is lost, then offense is sure to follow. We can spend all our time trying to prove our perspective is the only right way, or we can spend the time we have with others trying to work towards healthy, loving and respectful communication. Knowing when to yield is key to peacemaking.

Have you ever noticed that it's hard to concentrate when you have offense, negative impressions or other unfruitful thoughts running around in your head? Those things are like little mice that gnaw away at our peace. The enemy is very good at making suggestions that cause people to misread or misinterpret things in order to elevate false judgments towards others. That is how he manipulates our thoughts and emotions in order to create a feeling of offense towards someone else. We become convinced that our perception and the things we've meditated on are truth, when in fact it was nothing more than the enemy fabricating a lie in our minds. We have to learn to take those thoughts captive and cast them down!

The truth is, every time a person elevates a judgment, offense, or suspicious thought towards someone else, those things become barriers that stand in the way of really loving the other person involved. Let me give you a little example from my own life. In one situation, there was a person that had found numerous ways to offend and hurt from past events, and nothing had ever been said by that person to indicate they were actually sorry for some of the things they had done; things that left me feeling suspicious of their motives and quick to take on offensive thoughts at any given moment. Then one day I had to re-examine the relational dynamics, because things had changed over the course of time. I finally had to release all my previous judgments and offenses because the facts no longer supported the idea that this person was the same person as who they had been in the past. The facts supported the reality that this person really did want to be in my life and valued communication. It was at this point that I told the Lord I repented for carrying old judgments, irritations and offenses into the present day. There was no longer a place for them if I truly wanted to be able to see that relationship totally healed. I had to make a choice to choose to love that person instead of hold on to false judgments that made me leery about trusting them. The enemy would continue to look for any way to place barriers between us until the decision was made to cast down the suggestions and temptations to be offended every time he decided to throw a fiery dart.

It's time to remove those barriers and go beyond our comfort zone, and give opportunity to others that perhaps we hadn't given them in times past. Because what we meditate on, and what we allow to remain in our spirit, is what is communicated to others – whether we realize it or not. People often have blind spots to their own flaws. Remember that we often tend to judge ourselves by our intent but others judge us on how we make them feel, whether it’s intentional or not on our part. Whatever we carry around with us, in the form of unresolved issues, hurts, offenses, unforgiveness or anger towards other people and situations – will be communicated in some form to others. It may or may not be the same people that were responsible for the original hurt. Unresolved hurt and offense magnify over time and will spill out onto others. These become our core issues, or root issues that create difficulty in relationships and how people perceive communication. It is vital to take the time to repent of any lingering negative emotions and seek God for healing so that those things do not continue to damage communication and weaken existing relationships. Not to sound insensitive, but it is our responsibility to get our heart right with God and others regardless of whether or not someone else has mistreated or disappointed us. Regardless of whether or not someone who has hurt or offended us has offered a sincere apology or not...because that is what GRACE is. It's demonstrating love and compassion whether we think a person deserves it or not. God is so extremely gracious with us. We must give it away to others. Because it's that grace that opens the door to reconciliation and mending relationships that have been estranged, awkward or broken. Forgiveness is the only way out! Until you forgive you cannot be healed, neither can you be forgiven by God for your own sins. It is not optional! You must unload those heavy burdens now! And when you do, you will find more and more relationships get healed because of your choice to do the right thing.

Keys to Right Communication:

  • ·Respect others regardless of how you may feel about things they have done. If you want to receive respect, it must be given. It’s a two-way street.

  • ·         Offer a sincere apology. Own your own faults instead of shifting the blame onto others. Pride blames and takes on a spirit of accusation, which only creates more offense. The path of humility lends itself to keeping peace and apologizing when one is needed to sooth injured feelings. Sometimes you need to do so even if you don’t feel you are wrong, but out of consideration that you want the relationship to move forward.

  • ·         Forgive and mean it!

  • ·         Respond with an answer that demonstrates self-control; don’t react to the bait that may be on the hook, dangling in front of you. Reactions cause more problems. Responses can dissolve anger.

  • ·         Know when to terminate a conversation. Do it with kindness but don’t keep going in circles because the enemy is just waiting to draw you into a fight. Table a conversation until both parties can come back with self-control, respect and humility. Humility is the only thing that is going to work towards reconciling differences.

  • ·         Try to understand the other person’s perspective. Remember, it may or may not be truth, but perspective is 99% of the other person’s reality.

  • ·         Know when to pray and ask Holy Spirit to communicate with the other person and step out of the picture for a while. Give Him time to work. God is all about healing and restoring but in His time. How often we want to assume the role of the Holy Spirit and tell someone else everything we think is wrong with them or how they have offended us. It’s Holy Spirit’s job to convict the world of sin; not ours.

  • ·         Think outside the box for solutions to keep things running smoothly. If each person is trying to manipulate a situation or control others so that they are pleased with the end results, then it is going to create resentment in others. No one wants to feel the effects of guilt, manipulation or control and it will cause offense and worse results. Be flexible. Be willing to yield and create new solutions that work for everyone involved. Selfishness is not conducive to workable resolution of differences. YIELD!

  • ·         Be a peacemaker. Speak peace into a situation. Speak kindly and with consideration.

These are keys to good communication.

Father God,

I pray for the grace and strength to let go of offense and genuinely forgive those that have contributed to the injury of my soul. I choose this day to let it all go. I reject fear, anger, unforgiveness, insecurity, and bitterness. Help me to no longer need a sense of vindication or demand that others make situations right, for if I have to wait for that it may never come. I want to be free now. I choose to release everyone from every debt and offense. Holy Spirit, come fill my heart with peace and help me to communicate from a place of love , grace and acceptance towards others. I do not wish to project hurt and offense onto others. Heal my heart, heal my conversation and the way I communicate with others. Help me to find creative ways to resolve differences and to demonstrate respect towards others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment