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Christian Communication

Published on:

6 May 2014

Communication

TEXT:

The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked. (Proverbs 10:11)

I was sitting by the computer in my apartment one Saturday afternoon; I was reflecting upon this title, five floors below my apartment, my attention was drawn to an ice-cream van by its sonorous music. The music was frantically communicating to my thirsty appetite saying, “You need to cool off with a cone of vanilla ice-cream.” The music broke the barrier of distance between me and the van to express the intention of the ice-cream man. I smiled and wondered about the power of communication. Communication is a powerful and lively natural phenomenon that breaks the silence of nature. It is a natural link that permeates through the wave of the planet Earth to reach out to the world. A French Philospher, Simone Weils (1909-43) stated in his book, Gravity and Grace, “Two prisoners whose cells adjoin communicate with each other by knocking on the wall. The wall is the thing which separates them but is also their means of communication. It is the same with us and God. Every separation is a link.” Heaven is never far away from mankind through the means of communication.

The earth is filled with transparent vacuum called wave. It could be air wave, radio wave or electronic wave. This wave is a separation between one living being and another and it also separates the earthly and the invisible throne of God in heaven. Also it is a link between every living thing and interestingly, between us and our Father in Heaven. Every separation is a link from one distance to another like a string cord of a guitar that is hooked at each of its ends over a hollow box; if the string is not pulled it does not produce melodious vibration. Every living creature communicates but man possesses an enormous ability to communicate like our Creator. In communication at least two parties are involved. One is reaching out to the other out of the abundance of his heart through the vibrational sound of the voice box membrane or gesture and the other is receiving the heart felt intentions of another party through the vibration of the thin membrane of his eardrum. The eardrum is divinely created to mimic the vibration of its surroundings and relay the information to our brain where the vibrational sound is processed and interpreted according to the knowledge of its surroundings. That is what communication is all about. One person is talking by making a communicable sound and another person is listening to the sound, processes it and interprets it for the purpose of decision making.

The words of our mouth possess power, value is attached to it and the source of the word determines its effects.

Power of word: “A gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge but the mouth of the fool gushes folly. (Proverbs 15:1-2) “From the fruit of the mouth a man’s stomach is filled; with the harvest from his lips he is satisfied. The tongue has the power of life and death and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:20-21) It is the power in the word of our mouth that coveys our heartfelt praiseworthiness before Almighty God; it is the power in the word that moves the mighty hands of God to our favorable desire in our prayer.
The word of our mouth possesses value attached to it. “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is a wise man’s rebuke to a listening ear.” (Proverbs 25:11-12)

The source of words determines its positive or negative effects. “The heart of the righteous weighs its answers but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.” (Proverbs 15:28) If the word of our mouth proceeds out of the righteous mouth it produces positive effect of peace but if it comes from hurtful spirit, it manifests in anger and produces curses hatred and violence.

THE INSTRUMENT OF COMMUNICATION – THE GATE WAY TO THE OUR HEARTS.

Tongue

Tongue is an important instrument of communication. Tongue provides an output expression of the person’s feelings and abundance of the natural personality of the person. “O generation of vipers, how can ye being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” A good person speaks with grace out of the abundance of his gracious heart and a wicked person speaks guile and malicious things out of the abundance of wickedness in his heart.

The Book of James extensively talked about how deadly the little part of our body called tongue could be if it is not properly controlled.

My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh. James 3:1-12

Tongue may become a deadly input of enemy into our life when whatever a man hears or sees in his environment controls his emotion and made him to open his mouth to make an evil confession against self. Example of these evil confessions against self are: I am doomed! I am finished! and so on …

Ear And Sight

There are five senses in human namely: taste, touch (feel) sight, hear and smell. Through these five senses, our environment can directly communicate to our emotion. With our tongue we taste, with our body we feel, our eyes provided the sense of sight, our ear organ provided sense of hearing and nose organ provided sense of smelling. All the five senses of man provided direct access to the center of consciousness of man thereby can affect our emotion. Enemies have been capitalizing on these direct accesses to our emotion to torment us. Our ear and sight are two main senses through which the situation around us are communicating to us. The music we always listen to establish the class of social circle we found ourselves. The type of discussion we listen to determines our personality. The type of fashion in vogue that we see around influences the way some people are dressing. Naturally man responds to his environment in a complex manner according to the strength of communication of his or her environment and the power of his environment’s influence over him.

Above all these five senses of man is the power of God that give man authority and power to rule over his body and over his environment. You should not allow the ridiculous situations in your environment to take your dominion mandate from you. You must learn how to dominate self and control self to yield to the will of God. You must control what you see so that it will not manipulate you to fall into sin. You must control what you hear so that it will not drag you into sin. The first enemy you have to conquer in your environment is ‘self’. When you deal with the self in you, the environment around you will tagged you ‘different’. Because you are different you are no longer the friend of the worldly people around you. When people in your environment are walking around naked, because you are different, you will now see the reason why the glorious body that God has given you must be covered with glorious apparel. All of a sudden your environment will see new you. You will become their center of focus. They will like to know why you are different. They will be somehow envious of your life-style. Some will say to you, “You are different, what is the secret? Then you will be able to tell them that the difference is Jesus Christ in you. That is how we are challenged in the scripture to become a light in this world in order to transform the darkness around you.

Body

Our body communicates to its environment and eyes are the receptive organ to the language of the body. In most of the time, body does not possess much good language to speak to people. Among in the list of language of the body are gesture of pride, curse, dissension, rudeness and series of inappropriate exposure of body that communicate lust and seduction. If the eyes are insensitive to the communication of body, the language of the body will become useless. Thank God that some people had modified the ugliness of body language to some useful purposes in form of sign language that are mainly done through the variations of shape of hands.

PROCESS OF HANDLING VERBAL COMMUNICATION

Angel Gabriel is the greatest communicator. In most of the passages in the Bible where God talked to man in the Bible through His angel, Angel Gabriel usually represented the voice of God. When he spoke to Mary about the conception of Jesus Christ, he declared the source and the secret of his power. He said said, “I am angel Gabriel that stands in the presence of God.” He stands in the presence of God not necessarily to engage in dialogue with God but rather to draw power and inspiration from Him, and also, mainly as a great listener — listening to the majestic wisdom of God Almighty as it manifests in His word. Angel Gabriel does two things that can help us in our Christian journey. He watches and listens. In watching the activities of others heavenly hosts before the throne of God, improves his learning of the archangels. The act of listening simply means accumulation of information in the storage memory of our mental system. Accumulation of information will make you to be informative about a particular subject you are familiar with. You will be able to discuss the issue with utmost clarity and authority and your judgment will be precise and decisive.

The advanced aspect of listening is fact finding question you put across to someone that brought a charges (whether true or malicious) against someone. The relevant questions are:

1. Is it true? The response to this question will trigger another question. If the person says, it is true; then you can go to the next question. But if he says, “I am not sure.” Case close, nothing further to discuss.

2. Can this fact be substantiated? If yes, ask him to state the facts with verbal evident. If not, no further discussion. Nevertheless, be vigilant.

3. Can I discuss this issue with him? If he says, “Yes.” Find what happened from the person involved. There is natural tendency for him to say ‘no’ because of the fear of hurting the person he is discussing, that is, the main object of the discussion or fear of causing friction between people, and so on. But if he says, “No,” ask him the fourth question.

4. Ask him, “What is your opinion in this matter?” Or “What do you think I should do in this matter?” His opinion or his advice will widen the scope of your understanding in the matter and it will provide you with a second opinion about the situation also guide you in your decision if need be.

Brethren, do you notice something in this discussion? The person that is asking the question is mainly doing the listening while the accuser was going on saying what his mouth can utter.

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” (James 1:19) We wonder why we have two ears but one mouth. That is part of proverbial aspect of creation. Every organ in our body that has no duplicate is an indication to man that the organ must be used sparingly and carefully and it must be handled delicately. Our mouth is one of the three organs (mouth, heart and genitalia) in human system that must be handled carefully. Because we have two ears, two eyes and one mouth, it means the scripture is admonishing us that we need to listen with our ears and see with our eyes two times as much as we speak with our mouths. Better still, put so many factors into consideration before you respond verbally about any situation. And number one on the list of the factors to be considered is, “What does the scripture say concerning that situation?” Even after you have exhibited godly patience to listen, and have demonstrated the angelic calmness to respond verbally, the scripture directed we should not display the destructiveness anger of Satan in response to what you listened to. Invariably, the scripture is expressly saying that we must be very patient at every stage of our emotional reactions concerning the situation.

YOUR COMMUNICATION DETERMINES WHERE YOU BELONG

Communication is not always verbal, the ways of ones life is a communication. Your communication determines where you belong whether you are dwelling in the darkness or in the light, the way you communicate to the world around you where you belong. The job you do, the way you live, those things that interests you, what you do at your leisure time and so on determine the class of people you belong in a community. A jot of marijuana in your hand will classifies you as the one that belongs to the dark world of drug. A lighted cigarette in your hand classified you as a smoker. A tipsy mood under the influence of alcohol classified you as an alcoholic.

The type of dress you put on speaks volumes about your personality. If you dress up moderately well with all the beautiful curves of your body well covered in your apparel, you will be classified as a gentleman or a ‘nice lady’ perhaps you may be described as a Christian. If you are too dressy or flashy with a lot of jewels on you in a non-correlated environment and occasion people around may be of the mind that you are into something, and your outlook may attract men of the world. If you dress up in a “worldly” civilization, do not be surprised if people around you think you are a whore. Dressing is one of camouflaging instrument of man. This is why some criminals dress up like clergymen in order to deceive the security agents that are searching for them. The way we dress does not always reflect our true personality but certainly present us in an outlook we expect others to see us.

The class of people you hang out with will carve out a personality for you. If you are always with different kinds women either for business purposes or otherwise, you cannot easily convince the world around you that you are not a womanizer. In our day, if a man always hangs out with men most of the time, or a woman with women, they could be described with a name that has been ascribed to evil sexual perversion in our society today.

“Action speaks louder than voice,” is a popular parlance in our society. This is not true. Among people that can communicate verbally, there is no amount of action that communicate effectively more than voice. We all know that body language, ugly gesture or action has no voice at all. If it could communicate at all, most of the time, it only speaks in the gesture of dissension, pride, hatred and rudeness. Therefore, if you do not know how communicate a positive body language that can bring glory to God, do not apply this method of communication in reaching out others.

The adage stated that necessity is the mother of invention. Necessity of a means of communication among the handicapped people who could not communicate verbally, some ingenious thoughtful individuals developed sign language to become a learning tool among less fortunate members of our societies that cannot communicate verbally. One of the necessities is the fact that Jesus Christ died for the handicapped. This truth needs to be communicated to them so that they too, can be presented with an opportunity to establish a relationship with God. Sign language is not the only way to communicate to these precious people in our society. The most important way of communicating with them is by loving them and genuinely accepting them as member of our society. Of course they will listen to your message if you love them.

OBJECT OF PUBLIC EXHIBITION – THE FOOD OFFERED TO IDOL

Advertisement is one of the booming businesses in this slowing economic situation of the world. Whether a company is making profit or not, they still spend fortunes in advertisement. We wonder why this should be. The simple reason is that the advertising companies design their advertisements in a creative way to stimulate your sense of sight. That is how we learn of many products in our time through television and newspaper advertisement. And many of us begin to inquire about the product, try it and then add it to the list of our daily needs. Dog is one of the specific domestic animals that take decision based upon the stimulation of its senses of sight and smell. If dog sees a bone, it is simply not capable to ignore it because its sense of sight will at the moment control its decision. The same way, if a male dog sighted a female dog, it will be barking and become restless, why, because it sense of sight controls its decision.

Man is far ahead of animal in terms of reasoning but it is very sad to note that despite this fact some people are being control by their sense of sight. Some of the obscenity sight we see in our environment especially in the summer period and the various sickening sights on the television and the internet control the emotion of some people and thereby lead them to take sinful decisions. Whatever your focus is center upon possesses a direct access to your mind and can become mind manipulative thereby drag you to commit abominable and sinful act. WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) was popular principle of SVGA (Super Video Graphic Arts) computer monitor in the early nineteen nineties but today, similar principle of what-you-see-is-what-you-do is the gadget that Satan employs to drag the mind of some to commit sin as a result of manipulative power of sight communication. The fact that you see so many people doing a certain thin does not follow that what they are doing is right for you as a child of God. Therefore it is your sole responsibility to choose what you want to see depend upon the guidance of the scripture at your finger-tip and the self-control you have on your emotions.

COMMUNICATION GUIDELINES

Do not talk too much.

We should set the pattern of the volume our talking in line with our Creator. God would not talk unless it is necessary. His words are succinct and address important issues of our lives. His true prophets and servants reflect the ways He talks, they do not add to what they heard from God and neither do they deduct from it, otherwise they would become false prophets. In the excessive talking are catalogue of errors and fallacies. Also in talking too much one may unknowingly open his mouth too wide and utter what he is not suppose to say. In talking too much you may step on the toes of other unconsciously. “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise.” (Proverbs 10:19) “He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit. Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; when he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive.” (Proverbs 17:27-28)

Do not nag

“Better to dwell in the wilderness than with a contentious and angry woman.” (Proverbs 21:19) The godly admonition that states, “Do not nag!” in a family setting is not equal to do not communicate with each other. We are not talking of grave yard mood in a family. The nature demonstrated the importance of communication within family. The leaves of a tree produce rustling sound when the breeze blows on it. The birds sing and the grazing animals in the meadows still communicate in their own ways to their offsprings. Communication is one of the sure evidence that we are alive. Therefore in the dwelling place of mankind, communication is inevitable. There important things we need to know about the word ‘nag’. The rule that must be observed in our communication is that peace should guide our utterances with others. When a discussion is degenerating to argument and verbal abuse, may be it time to stop the conversation. In this human weakness, anger manifests. The anger that is expressed in the utterances triggers off irritations. The irritation in the discussion between the parties causes contentious arguments. The continuous cycle of nagging causes of piling up of grievances that eventually explodes and becomes a chaotic situation. Fist and cudgels will now participate in the already ugly scene. The truth behind nagging is that, anyone that engages in nagging is an unconscious instrument in the hand of Satan to disorganize what God had organized. No wonder, the scripture says it is better to dwell in the wilderness than living with a contentious and angry woman. That is the extent of how bad it is to be nagging. Again, it is not only woman that nags, some men are worse off. Some always like to have the last word as if they are deriving something useful from it.

Be wise in timing

There is time for everything on earth. “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. … A time to rend, and a time to sew, a time to keep silence and a time to speak.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) Boldness to speak bluntly at the right timing is an indication of uprightness. A timely decisive discussion relating to the affairs of your family to iron out problems is expected of you. Fix the shaky foundation of your home. Consider the following example in the Nehemiah handle a problem within a community.

Now there was a great outcry of the people and of their wives against their Jewish brothers. For there were those who said, “We, our sons and our daughters are many; therefore let us get grain that we may eat and live.” There were others who said, “We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards and our houses that we might get grain because of the famine.” Also there were those who said, “We have borrowed money for the king’s tax {on} our fields and our vineyards. Now our flesh is like the flesh of our brothers, our children like their children. Yet behold, we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters are forced into bondage {already,} and we are helpless because our fields and vineyards belong to others.” Then I was very angry when I had heard their outcry and these words. I consulted with myself and contended with the nobles and the rulers and said to them, “You are exacting usury, each from his brother!” Therefore, I held a great assembly against them. I said to them, “We according to our ability have redeemed our Jewish brothers who were sold to the nations; now would you even sell your brothers that they may be sold to us?” Then they were silent and could not find a word {to say.} Again I said, “The thing which you are doing is not good; should you not walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the nations, our enemies? “And likewise I, my brothers and my servants are lending them money and grain. Please, let us leave off this usury. “Please, give back to them this very day their fields, their vineyards, their olive groves and their houses, also the hundredth {part} of the money and of the grain, the new wine and the oil that you are exacting from them.” Then they said, “We will give {it} back and will require nothing from them; we will do exactly as you say.” So I called the priests and took an oath from them that they would do according to this promise. I also shook out the front of my garment and said, “Thus may God shake out every man from his house and from his possessions who does not fulfill this promise; even thus may he be shaken out and emptied.” And all the assembly said, “Amen!” And they praised the LORD. Then the people did according to this promise. Nehemiah 5:1-13

And there was a great outcry from within. The outcry was not as a result of war from the enemy. It was not an internal conflict, but it was an unbearable pain that poverty had subjected them to. The outcry was about the unrighteousness and injustice that the noble men were inflicting against the poor. It was about the oppressive usury and undue advantage of the noble men in Israel. The noble men were extorting the poor because of the debt they owed to procure grains so that they can to stay alive during the difficult moment in the country. They made them to pay an excessive or illegally high rate of interest on the money they borrowed. At this time in Israel usury was not only illegal but also a violation of the law of God, yet these nobles made the poor ones sell their children into slavery. War might have been a reason why one may lose their loved ones to enemy but how unbearable will it be if the evil practices of some close neighbors who were supposed to be friends was the reason why they lose their biological children to enemy in terms of slavery.

Nehemiah pondered when he heard the outcry. Let us ponder as well and ask ourselves few questions: Why was Nehemiah rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem? Our answer will include, “protection and safeguard of lives and property in order to restore the glory of the city of Jerusalem.” If so, should Nehemiah continue to build the wall of protection round the wicked people so that they can continue in their atrocities? Absolutely not! Nehemiah, a courageous leader, asked the Israelites to set aside the rebuilding work of the city wall and called the assembly of the righteous to address the pressing issue that concerns the poor majority among them.
“You shall not afflict any widow or orphan. “If you afflict him at all, {and} if he does cry out to Me, I will surely hear his cry; and My anger will be kindled, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless. “If you lend money to My people, to the poor among you, you are not to act as a creditor to him; you shall not charge him interest. “If you ever take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, you are to return it to him before the sun sets, for that is his only covering; it is his cloak for his body. What else shall he sleep in? And it shall come about that when he cries out to Me, I will hear {him,} for I am gracious. Exodus 22:22-27
Now in case a countryman of yours becomes poor and his means with regard to you falter, then you are to sustain him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you. ‘Do not take usurious interest from him, but revere your God, that your countryman may live with you. ‘You shall not give him your silver at interest, nor your food for gain. Leviticus 25:35-37

“If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need {in} whatever he lacks. “Beware that there is no base thought in your heart, saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of remission, is near,’ and your eye is hostile toward your poor brother, and you give him nothing; then he may cry to the LORD against you, and it will be a sin in you. “You shall generously give to him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings. “For the poor will never cease {to be} in the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.’ Deuteronomy 15:7-11

He called a large town meeting that comprised of the noblemen and the poor, the city officials and priests in Israel to deal with the issue. God’s concern for the poor is revealed in almost every book of the Bible. The practice of the noblemen of Israel at this time was a direct violation of the law of God in Exodus 22:25. Fairness to the poor and oppressed was central to following God. This is clearly spelled out in the Law of Moses. The way we help those in need ought to mirror God’s love and His merciful concern. Nehemiah told the nobles and officials to return immediately the properties they had taken from the poor and the usury they had charged them.

The hidden agenda of wickedness of the noblemen and the officials were uncovered. The noblemen reasoned according to the law of God, were convicted of their wickedness and all concurred to change. The noblemen and the officials in Israel said, “We will give it back, and we will not demand anything more from them. We will do as you say.” Nehemiah did not buy their cheap promises. He made them to live by their words. He summoned the priests and made the nobles and officials take an oath to do what they had promised. In a prophetic seal, Nehemiah also shook out the folds of his robe and said, “In this way may God shake out of his house and possessions every man who does not keep this promise. So may such a man be shaken out and emptied!” And the whole assembly said, “Amen, and praised the Lord.” The nobles and officials lived according to their promise.

In our society today, some husbands and wives will emerge from different rooms with a pretentious smile in their faces to welcome their unsuspecting visitor as if all is well in a home that is on the verge of collapse. But as soon as the visitor leaves they resort to their old ways of cat and mouse. Some couples put up a window-dressing pretence of peace in the presence of their little kids while they are at each others throat and terribly wounded in their spirits. They always think mischievously and say, “We do not want to hurt the children.” In actuality they are ruining themselves and at the same time unwittingly ruining the future of those kids. A problem discussed in time is problem resolved in time. An undisclosed problem will fester until ultimately there is a chaotic explosion of grievances. Some siblings fall out against each other in an unprecedented hatred and still maintain, in pretense, that they are one family. There are also pretentious peaceful relationships of brotherhood in the household of God when in actual fact they are harboring grudges and malice against each other. I challenge you with this question: Upon what foundation are you building on – sand or rock? Also, what are you building a protective wall around to safeguard? If your coexistence as husband and wife in your matrimonial home is so important to your children’s life, fix the squabbles that have broken down the wall of your home. Learn from Nehemiah and address the issue as soon as possible. Do not allow the issue to drag before you arrest the situation. Man may succeed in deceiving man but no one can deceive God because He knows the intent of man’s heart.

You must not be passive when you are expected to be active. A passive attitude in the affairs of your family is an indication that you consented to the wrong occurrence that you are suppose to correct by your timely outspoken.

Commendation as well must be timely to communicate a deserved message of encouragement. A passive attitude towards commendation is an indication of ingratitude. “A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, and a word spoken in due season, how good it is!” (Proverbs 15:23) A word fitly spoken is like apple of gold in setting of silver. (Proverbs 25:11) If it is natural for you to show dissatisfaction against those things that were wrongly done around you, do not delay to communicate commendation, on timely basis, about things that are rightly done around you. It is a serious error not to communicate appreciation of those things that your spouse is doing very well. Some people thought that if you commend your spouse he or she may become slack in that positive area of life. That is a negative thought. Commendation should not be in form of observation; it is to encourage one another. Communication of commendation builds monument of righteous doing in ones live, and provide a challenge to improve in other areas of lives. Whenever a member in a congregation is taking a positive step in righteousness in a Christian gathering, every communication of commendation on this step would permanently seal the righteous steps, he will always love to improve on it in order to be a good example to others.

RESOLUTION TO HANDLE OUR COMMUNICATION AS A CHRISTIAN

Bridling our tongue/Setting a guard over our lips

One of the important ways of handling communication as Christian is to set a guard over our lips or bridle our tongue. The two phrases mean the same thing. Setting a guard over our lips is to be selective among the people we open our mouth to in the discussion of our lives sensitive issues. When we say do not open your mouth to everybody, it does not follow that you should not discuss your plans with your spouse or your parents or people that are truly close to you, unless what you are about to do you intended it to be a pleasant surprise to your spouse or your loves ones. Although in the real live issue, some close relatives are more deadly than enemies. In effect, the scripture is trying to explain that it is not everyone you discuss your life sensitive issues wishes you well. Some may laugh at you, some may envy you, and some may unwittingly discuss your secret life issues with enemy thereby causing set back in your life. “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.” (Psalm 141:3) “He who guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction.” (Proverbs 13:3) “If anyone among you thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.” (James 1:26)

Speak encouragingly

The utterances of a Christian must be scanned with a series of checklists. We must first of all ask ourselves, these questions, “Will this utterance give glory to God? All though your discussion may seems to hurt the person you about to discuss with, especially when you want to discuss a bitter truthful issue, you need to check whether it will it eventually bring peace to the person’s life if your advice is considered? Do you rebuke the erring ones in love as the scripture directed? Bringing down someone with tongue-lashing because of his or her errors may not necessary help resolve the issue because of its negative impart. But when you lift the erring ones in love albeit at the same time entrench correction in the rebuke of love, it will be well received and perhaps heal the situation permanently. How do you intervene to resolve misunderstanding between couples? How do you handle the truth you know about them while you are resolving their misunderstanding? Wisdom is the watchword because you were not around when they began their holy relationship. Handle the known ugly revelation in the family with wisdom. Your holy assignment towards the warring spouse is to band the broken relationship. You must not allow yourself to be an instrument in the hand of Satan to disorganize what God Himself had joined together. You need to help build their home, you need to help them to mend the cracks in their home and let your words and advice seal the leakages of enemy in their homes. “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace of the hearers.” Ephesians 4:29

“Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” (Colosians 4:6)

COMMUNICATION STYLES

Sincerely speaking, there is nothing wrong with jokes. It brings an unexpected laughter to people’s mouth. It stimulates listening, in that some people come purposely to the gathering to listen to the next joke that the speaker will introduced. It has been an important instrument that wakes up people that are dosing in an air-conditioning room gathering. When people just burst into laughter, the half-sleeping person will endeavor to wake up in that he will be thinking that he’s missing the purpose of the gathering. It also makes the tensed people to lose up in preparation for the forth coming speech. The truth we need to reflect on in this instrument of communication of our time is that; When we consider the so-called interesting jokes in the gathering of the children of God, “What important value can we attribute to jokes compare with the word of God? We must beware of silly jokes, especially those jokes that do not give glory to God.

One of the attributes of godliness is to afford silly jokes. It was not one of the speech styles of the prophets. The prophets did not joke while they were unfolding the prophecies of God. Jesus Christ the Son of God never joked with His word of wisdom. Let us consider the reasons why the servants of God of old did not introduce jokes in their speech to people. A serious God was revealing a serious prophecy about serious issues concerning humanity, as a result, a serious servant would in turn reveal the serious message in all seriousness so that people may seriously consider their messages. It is very important to be serious in your communication. Your seriousness in your conversation will determine the value that you expect others to place on your words. Although this may seem unpopular in our time, but the fact remains that in an observation that is very popular among us, If the children from the parents or two close friends emerged from a room with smiling faces, it is believed that their discussion was not on serious issues, but if they wore strong faces as they emerge from the room, certainly serious issues that touches their lives had been discussed.

There was one obvious style in the speech of Jesus Christ that was so unique. This style was never known to be the communication style of mankind before the ministry of Jesus Christ. The unique wealth of communication is parable. Parable is different from proverbs. Proverbs in the scripture are maxims or set of principles of life to guide man in righteousness but parables are enduring life experiences that drive home spiritual principles. Jesus Christ always used enduring symbols and everyday things that existed in his time period and continue to exist in ours. These symbols drive home his teaching and his principles, making it practically impossible for man to forget what he learned. Even if the principles are forgotten, the parable lives on in our minds. There is one thing that is amazing about the parables of Jesus Christ: they cannot be outlived. Whenever a parable from Jesus Christ comes to the understanding of man, it always brings forth indisputable facts. The meaning of the parable becomes new every day as we increase in the level of our meditations. The rapid changes of the modern era cannot make His parables become obsolete or anachronistic. In fact, some of the parables are manifested in many current events.

It is not a sin to be tactful in communication for the purpose of protecting yourself. Being tactful is not equal to deceitfulness. It simply means applying the truth with all carefulness to ensure that you are not hurt and at the same time you do not hurt your audience. This style of communication is very predominant in diplomatic world. All living creatures have possesses this ability. When in danger, people do three things, namely: (a) run away from the trouble, (b) disguise or hide yourself and (c) fight back. Running away from trouble does not need explanation but disguising self as the habit of some animal is interesting. Chameleon readily comes to mind when one is thinking about this topic. Chameleon is one of the slow moving creatures. Any time this creature is in a dangerous environment, it disguises itself by changing to the prevailing color of the environment and stay still until the danger pass away. (This should not be interpreted as compromising with the world in this context.) The creature knows that it can not run fast but has another subtle way of protecting itself. When David was caught and brought before king Abimelech, he did not confront the king, that he was anointed king of Israel. He did not tell the king that he was a renowned warrior. He did not brag that he killed Goliath the Philistine giant. David pretended to be a mad person by spilling his saliva upon his bears when he was taken to king Abimelech. The king felt disgusted and rebuked the people that arrested David saying, “How can they bring crazy person to his palace.” He commanded them to release David. You can see how David communicated to the king in an empowered wisdom of Holy Spirit and thereby secured his freedom. Wisdom is far more effective than personal power and ability if they are harnessed in righteousness.

During the mission of Paul, in so many times he was arrested and beaten up by his persecutors. In order to escape the stoning of his adversaries, he was lowered down in a basket over the city-wall. In some occasion he came out boldly to challenge his unjust prosecution, claiming his Roman citizenship. The point here is — knowing the strategic time of opening ones mouth in communication. Your mouth may be a protecting shield or an instrument that exposes your nakedness if it is not tactically controlled.

IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNICATION IN EVANGELISM

Evangelism is a peaceful revolution of peace. It is setting forth a new order of spiritual relationship between man and God. It is a stealth spiritual weapon that was ordained by the wisdom of God to unveil the false power of darkness. It was intended to remove the spiritual veil from the inner eyes of mankind in order to understand his Creator. Evangelism establishes new spiritual ideas about how to relate with God that had never been practiced among mankind before. The principle is to teach man to yield to righteous higher spiritual law without any compulsion whatsoever. Evangelism is the law of love that was implemented and completed in sacrificial love that took Jesus Christ to the Cross, and He was introduced in love to whosoever will. The decision to yield is completely private and totally independent of any compulsion. Therefore it was not certain sets of action that result into a dramatic changes, it is the manifestation of the power of God that accompanied the words as it was proceeding out of the mouth of speakers. This divine communication divided the world around us to two classes of people, namely, (a) the people that love the word of God and live thereby (b) the people that hate the word of God and die in ignorance.

The power of God is executed in the speaking and in listening – communication. From the time of Jesus Christ, speaking and listening had been the forum for the power of God to bring in salvation unto man. On the day of Pentecost, the principle of communication did not change. It was enhanced by the power of Holy Spirit. It was executed in the speech of Peter to his audience. It removed fear from the mind of Peter and infused boldness. The servant of God was able to speak in the authority of the power of God. Secondly, the audience possessed listening spirit. The people did not argue with the speaker, instead they paid a careful attention and the truth sank in. They were convicted under the power of Holy Spirit and they asked Peter, “What can we do to be saved?” Peter offered them the prescription of salvation and said, “Repent and be baptized for the remission of your sins!”

The apostles continued in the same way, using the same instrument of salvation which is of course – communication. When people hear the word of God they process it in their mind and they come up with a free will decision. Even in our time the process has not changed. It is only the method of input that changed. The word God is powerful. The word stated, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations …” Jesus did not specify any format or method. In effect, any method or format you bring the message across to people are therefore acceptable as long as it comes to people in peace and in righteousness. Today we see different people with different ways of communicating the gospel in music format. Some on the other hands communicate the gospel in writing ministry. That is why we have many written materials, like evangelism tracts, Christian books, Christian magazines, and internet Christian ministry.

Although some books are superb and reading is the most effective way of assimilating communication because note making and highlighting will provide man an opportunity to revisit the studied written materials. Under normal circumstances, a serious reader is supposed to finish a hundred pages of book within 24 hours along with his busy schedules, but people generally are inherently lazy to exert extra efforts to meditate more on the written materials they read. For this reason they do not pay much attention to reading these days. They preferred to listen to tapes or watch the minister on video tape if they cannot make it to the Christian meetings. Some ministers are aware of this inherent weakness of man and this is why some ministers embark of the old-fashioned way of verbal communication in evangelism with some modification here and there. Example of this is the Christian crusades that always witness a large gathering of people to listen to the word of God. In addition, there are other gatherings, like Christian retreat or Christian breakfast meeting when the minister do quickly capitalizes on the gathering to evangelize people. Other ones are tape ministry – audio and video that brings the message of the gospel to the people door steps. In any way we look at this issue, it is the changing face of communication in ministering to the populace of mankind.

Again, the great communicators do not write or record their statements. The prophets of old did not document their divine utterances as they received from God. It was people around them that documented their divine utterances and also as the Lord directed that the words to be preserved. As mighty as the ministry of Jesus Christ was, and also the remarkable ways He spoke, not a single book was credited to His mission of mercy on earth. It is those who are anointed with the spirit of scribe that documented those sacred statements that we called scripture today.

Paul the Apostle was unusually blessed in that he was delivered through the mercy of God and was assigned to bring the message of salvation to the Gentiles. His education as a lawyer under Gamaliel greatly enhanced his calling but the success of his ministry did not rest in the power of his educational enlightened mind, rather it was the manifestation of the power of Holy Spirit in his ministry. Please note this because it is important.

One of the greatest human efforts that brought dramatic result in the ministry of Paul was his application of communication to the glory of God. In the field of his evangelism, Paul always turned any conversation to an instrument to communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ. In his conversation with the Bereans and the Thessalonians, he commended the outstanding efforts of the Bereans in searching the scripture and at the same time challenge the Thessalonians to go back to the basics with is the word of God, with a simple but powerful statement as follow: “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examine the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” (Act 17:11) This of course was another way of passing on the commandment of God as He gave unto Joshua when He demanded that, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written there: for then thou shall make thy way prosperous.” (Joshua 1:8)

In his conversation with the great philosophers of the Epicureans and the Stoicks, who wanted to hear some new things (Acts 17:18-34) he declared that the UNKNOWN GOD they were worshipping is the Creator of the Universe. Many of the philosophers in Athens did not believe, nevertheless the seed of salvation he sow in his communication of gospel geminated and bore fruit. Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and some other people were the fruit of the labor.

In the field of his evangelistic mission, Paul and his co-laborers encountered unprecedented persecution. Paul and Silas were imprisoned, but they turned the sorrow into song, they communicated to God in their prayers and praised Him. God sent divine help and their prayers were answered with an earthquake. All their fetters were loose. Amazingly they did not run away because they had not finished their conversation. The reason why the mighty hands of God led them to the prison had not been fulfilled. When the keeper of the prison awoke and discovered that the prison doors were opened, he wanted to kill himself but Paul cried, “Do thyself no harm for we are all here.” The keeper of the prison was astounded and he just fell down before Paul and Silas, and asked, “Sir, what must I do to be saved?” And Paul now completed his conversation by pointed him to Jesus Christ the Savior after he preached the gospel to him. “They spake unto him the word of the Lord and to all that were in his house.” (Act 16:32)

His fearless but righteous communications led him from one trouble to the other and also the righteous communication of the gospel of Jesus Christ was always a saving grace for him. Before King Agrippa, he defended the gospel to the extent that the king said, “You almost persuaded me to be a Christian.” (Act 26:28)

TARGETING YOUR AUDIENCE

When a writer is writing, he always has his audience in mind. He will structure the message of his writing to appeal to the sense of reasoning of his targeted audience in order that they may be able to reason with him so that they may be able to incorporate the message of the writer in to their daily living. Every advertisement is intended to target an audience. When a company is advertising an SUV car, obviously, they are not communicating to someone who is earning minimum wages of $5.00 per hour. The same thing happens in the various means of communication whether verbal communication or written, there must be a target that the message of your wisdom is meant for. The music sound of ice-cream truck is so unique, standard and unmistakable. Whenever children hear the music of the truck, their sense of appeal will be stimulated and they will be yearning for ice-cream. Therefore the targets of ice-cream truck driver during summer are mainly the ice-cream thirsty children.

When a minister shouted, praise the Lord in a group of a certain people, only the children of God will able to respond back, and say, “Halleluiah.” The few that responded are the target of the minister.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. (Luke 4:18-19)

And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. (John 9:39)

From the above, we can see clearly that Jesus Christ our Lord has specific audience in His mission of mercy. He had come to deliver the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to set free the captives and to give sight to the blind and to judge the wicked.

But in the midst of the people He came for, there are others who are at the point of decision making. They are neither in nor out, they may want to listen to you in order to add to the number of reasons why they do not want to accept your message, or they may decide to listen to you in order to build up the reason why they should accept the message of salvation. This group of target is like fresh eggs that must be handled carefully. The way you speak to them or the tone of your message may make or break them. Again an error in your speech or erroneous interpretation of the scriptural principle may permanently keep them away from the truth that the word of God represent, and thereby send them to hell fire. Therefore in your communication, you must be very careful of what you say so that you will not turn the gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news of salvation to a scary whipping tool that will chase mankind to the gate of hell fire.

You must structure your message in such a way that it will reflect the truth that the scripture represented. It must not necessarily be the type of message your audience want to hear because generally people hate the truth. The word of God is a spiritual food, and the minister is the spiritual chef. Spiritual diet does not need to be sugarcoated however; it must be served in an attractive outlook and presented humbly and leave the people to decide the palatability of the truth. The people that will not follow the wind of the worldliness to destruction will enjoy the diet. Therefore, method of approach and presentation matters a lot in communication of the word of God. The spiritual food must be prepared in such a way to meet the whole spiritual needs of people. That is why the minister must not preach the gospel to appease his targeted audience rather he must structure the gospel to address their life-styles. Not necessarily to dress down people with a prevailing sinful habits rather by revealing the mind of God concerning their unbecoming bad habits. It is common today, that some ministers are preaching what people want to hear, so that the people will not withdraw their membership. The gospel must be presented in such a way that your audience will develop a place in their heart for the word of God. Whenever, you stand in the midst of people to share the word of God, it is not the time to exhibit your prowess of the word of God. You are simply a representative of Jesus Christ to your audience, and this is why you must deliver the message of Jesus Christ to the people with all patience and as humbly as you can. You must be able to carry every one along as you are talking with them. You must avoid being boring otherwise you will have sleeping congregation. Choose an appropriate time-length of your message. This is why Christian books are not always voluminous because voluminous Christian books put the readers away. Do not engage in an open ended message. Once you begin a message always conclude it powerfully to drive home your points. Do not digress if your digressive illustration will not drive in your message into their heart.

Take a critical look at the Law that God gave Moses on Mount Sinai and also the Sermon on the Mount that spanned from Matthew chapters 5 to 7. The messages in the two are the maxim of righteousness that God demanded from all of us. The Sermon on the Mount is the simplified version of the Law of Moses. The difference between the two messages is the messenger. One was written on the plaque of stone the second was written on our heart. The one written on stone was broken in the rage of anger; the one written on our heart was delivered with divine love of God. The Sermon on the Mount was opened with blessing, immediately after the list of the “Blessed are the …” and stupendous encouragement. The meaning of these “Blessed are the …” is not far fetched. It simply means, “The choice is presented to mankind to be blessed if man can follow the path of righteousness and rejection will attract the judgment of God.” Immediately after these, Jesus Christ declared, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” (Matthew 5:17) It is not surprising that people stuck with Him because in His message, He was able to carry them along with the wealth of wisdom and an unalloyed truth but perfectly presented in a soothing format that the people kept on demanding for more. Think!

FOLLOW-UP VISITATION AND LETTERS OF PAUL

In all the cities in the Gentile world where God used Paul to establish church of Jesus Christ, he appointed elders in the church to continue to teach and minister to the people in those churches while he continued to move on in the field of evangelism. From time to time he always paid visit to those churches to encourage or rebuke them in the love of God according to the scripture. This visitation is an important component of communication that ensure implementation and feedback of the earlier discussions, decisions and all the ongoing activities of the churches. The follow-up provided a check and balance in the activities of the churches. In the human behaviors, if a man knows that there will never be a follow-up in a certain vocational effort, the leaders may choose to relax or neglect their responsibilities. The flocks of the Lord in the congregation may not take their leaders serious. Wherever this type of check and balance are available, it is not only the leaders that are called to be responsible, the followers are inclusive.

In all the churches that he could not visit immediately due to his evangelical busy schedules, Paul would write letter to the churches. The letter served the same purposes: encouragement or correction unto righteousness as his personal physical follow-up. This was one of the obvious ways that his education as a lawyer enhanced his ministries and made him an excellent administrator. These letters that were written to different churches in different churches at different cities of Gentiles world where the churches were located expanded the scope of the ministries of Paul because those letters are still ministering the deep revelation of the scripture to us in our time. It also widened the scope of the revelation of God and the important issues relating to our present day life unto mankind in the New Testament. Thank God that he wrote letters to Corinthians brethren, otherwise, who would have provided answers to knotty and complex issues relating to marriages in our time. Who would have been able to answer the questions relating to the issues of life after the death of Christians? How would man have understood the organizational structure of church and all the functions of the offices of the leaders in the Church of Jesus Christ? Perhaps the people with perverted sexual orientation would have justified themselves that their evil activities are non-doctrinal issues since the scripture was silent over their evil activities in the New Testament. The evil activities were condemned in the Old Testament and were also condemned unequivocally in the New Testament.

Ask yourself this important question, “Through what medium is Holy Spirit ministering comfort, guidance, and understanding, unto man in our own time?” Communication is an instrument of our relationship with God without which there can be no inspiration and quickening of the Holy Spirit. Think!


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