Monday, June 29, 2015

Three Communication Tips for Today (James: Two Verses at a Time)

My Facebook feed the past few weeks has been full of new stories and commentary on the shooting in South Carolina and now the Supreme Court legalizing same sex marriage.  People are discussing racism and marriage.  Some are doing it well.  Some are doing it not so well.   These are issues that need to be discussed.  As followers of Jesus, we need to be part of the dialogue.  The trouble is how do we do it with grace and love?  How do we do it while at the same time bringing glory to God? Well, James gives us a few pointers.  Our verses for today are
Understand this my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.  Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.  James 1: 19,20
The first thing that stands out is that these verses apply to all of us.  No one is exempt.  Sometimes it is tempting to think I don't need to listen because I am right or I am the teacher or parent.  But maybe it is in those situations that we need to heed James' advice the most.   In communication, it is important to understand where the other person is coming from.   I can only do this when I am quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.   If my main agenda is to get my point across, I have failed.   If my goal is to connect with the other person and engage them in conversation where both of us share and question,  I have succeeded.   It does not mean I am compromising what I believe.

One thing that I appreciated about my dad was his ability to discuss issues.  He enjoyed the debate and the exchange of ideas.   He loved to hear what others thought about things, but he also liked to challenge them with questions about why they believed what they believed.   He didn't take it personal if someone didn't think the same way as he did.  I think that is important.

So today and tomorrow and hopefully the next day, I am go to continue to work on being quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.  As I leave for the states in a few days, I look forward to having discussions about life and the issues of the day.  I hope to learn and understand but I also pray that my discussions will make others look to God for answers about these issues.  I am also thankful for the friends I have who are communicating well on these issues.  They are a good example for me.

These verses seem to be ones that I refer back to time and again.  Here are other posts on James 1:19, 20 if you are interested.

Many blessings, TJ

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