A Word for the week – How to Communicate Well

Ineffective Communication
Illustrations by Joseph Chudleigh

Communication is such an important part of our lives and communicating well is not always easy. I heard a sermon about what the Bible says about communicating well and it has stuck with me for the past 20 years! These principles work in every relationship setting: marriage, friendships, family, co-workers, etc. So here it is, a very quick overview of The Four Principles of Biblical Communication from Ephesians 4:25-32

  1. Be Honest 
  2. Stay Current
  3. Attack the Problem, Not the Person
  4. Act, Don’t React

1. Be Honest 

Eph 4:25 - Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbour, 
for we are all members of one body.

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.

Ephesians 4:15

Don’t ‘beat around the bush’; don’t try to disguise your words. Speak the truth and speak it in love. 

2. Stay Current 

Eph 4:26-27 - “In your anger do not sin”. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 
and do not give the devil a foothold.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 

Don’t let things build up, sort them out as soon as you possibly can. Keep short records of wrongs. Keep the past in the past. 

3. Attack the Problem, Not the Person

Eph 4:29-30 - Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful 
for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Start with Matthew 7:1-5 and remove the log from your own eye. 

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Proverbs 12:18

Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.

1 Corinthians 4:5

Attacking a person is easy because every person is sinful and has done wrong. It takes more effort and wisdom to pinpoint a problem and focus on it.  Also, it is not up to us to judge someone’s motives, that’s God’s job. 

James chapter 3 describes the damage that our words can do to each other:

Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell… With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.

James 3:5-6, 9-10

Think before you speak and attack the problem, not the person!

4. Act, Don’t React 

Eph 4:31-32 - 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.

Verse 31 are the world’s weapons and verse 32 is God’s resources to us and a reminder that those in Christ have been forgiven of their wrongs. Put off the weapons of the world and put on kindness and choose forgiveness. Read the Bible and actually DO what it says!

There is so much more than can be unpacked here but the Bible is the best resource for help on communicating well and strengthening relationships. 

Take some time to examine your own heart and pray for guidance and wisdom to speak well. 
Jen Jack