Communication – Part 3
Thinking about relationships and how communication plays a part in it, we need to sharpen our sensitivity towards others. We might be sensitive about ourselves, but what about others? Are we sensitive to them, their feelings, hurts, pain? How do we come across in our conversation?
Albert Moravian of Yale University said that we communicate by words 7%, by the tone of our voice 38%, and by facial expressions, bodily language or gestures 55%. Looking back over my own life I see how true this really is. When I was the director of Operation Mobilization’s ship DOULOS I often saw how I communicated by my bodily language more than what I said.
For example, when we came into a particular port I remember leaning over the railing of ship, observing the different maneuvers the deck people were making in order to safely tie us up to the berth. A brother came along and started talking to me. I heard every word that he said, but he didn’t say anything that needed my response as far as words were concerned. When he had finished I turned and walked away. I hadn’t said anything to him. He followed me into the lounge area of the ship and said to me that I had deeply hurt him. I was dumbfounded and so I asked him what I had done. He had felt offended that I did not acknowledge him when he was talking to me. I brought him into my office where I apologized and had a word of prayer with him.
What had I done wrong? I was not sensitive to him. Through my body language I had communicated that he was not worthy to listen to. I had offended my brother in Christ. I found the same thing with the tone of my voice. Although I might use the right words, because the tone of my voice is deep it comes out different from what I intended to say. Again sensitivity is needed.
We are told in Ephesians 4:30-32 “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Being a good communicator means that we will sharpen our sensitivity to others, not that we will be sensitive about ourselves. We need to be asking ourselves questions like: Am I really communicating what I want? Am I sensitive to how I am coming across through my bodily language and tone of voice? Perhaps the family is the best place with your spouse and children to learn how to become a better communicator in order to develop solid biblical relationships.
Perhaps this is what God meant when He said that we should let our light be put on a stand to give light to all in the house. Matthew 5:14 “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.”
Isn’t this a problem in many homes today; that of a lack of communication or wrong communication? I know for myself that it has been in the home where I have had to repent and ask for forgiveness more often than perhaps any place else. Might God help us to build a greater sensitivity to one another and to our God.