Recently, I sat at a group table among many other table groups. Our goal—to discuss a certain matter and share opinions and ideas.
I had rather strong opinions about the matter and felt that the presentation was directed in an opposing view to mine. I say this to somewhat justify my reactions, but I have to confess that, in retrospect, I did not particular follow the lesson of Proverbs 15:1—
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
It wasn’t so much that I used harsh words. I stated my opinions with what I believed to be the teachings according to Scripture, but I’m not sure how gently it was received by those who disagreed.
It is said that 35% of our communication skills are in the words we say, but 65% in the way we say them. I think I was feeling pushed in a direction I did not want to go. Hurt people will hurt people. That certainly was not my intention, but I wonder in retrospect if it was indeed what I was doing. Paul encourages us to…
Speak the truth in love. Ephesians 4:15
I think I was speaking out of resentment, not love. I’m generally mild-mannered, but I know I can get pretty tenacious on certain principles at times.
We communicate with so many people in a plethora of situations throughout our week. Sometimes our communications are determined by how we feel physically: tired, sore, aching, rested, or energized.
Communications are also colored by our emotions: happy, at peace, silly, disagreeable, threatened, hurt, or discounted.
Again I turn to Paul’s advice.
Let your conversation always be full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to every person. Colossians 4:6
Salt seasons. It makes food tastier. It preserves. One can certainly apply that to communication. A little catch phrase I often hear is; be firm, fair, and friendly.
Well, friends, there you have it, my confessions for the day. Perhaps it will help you to consider how you’re communicating this week. Are your answers gentle? Spoken in love? Full of grace and seasoned with tasty, preserving salt? Let’s all work on it!
~ Joyce ~