Personal Communication

We are having a seminar on Communication on September 12, so in preparation, I thought I’d post a few thoughts on the topic:

Many conversations can be compared to a table tennis match: two players stand on opposite ends of the table preparing to send the ball across the net in such a way that the other has little or no chance of a successful return. When I was a kid, the goal was to keep the ball going back and forth for as long as we could!

Good relational conversations can be better characterized as a game of “catch,” when both people attempt to deliver the ball to the other in such a way that it can be received and then successfully returned. The goal is not to win but to keep the ball going back and forth between them.

As I remember back to my counseling and guidance classes in college, I recall that satisfying relational communication is a process of verbal and nonverbal interaction with others in which thoughts and feelings are shared and understood. This means the receiver of the communication hears what is said and understands what is meant by the sender.

  • Verbal communication conveys thoughts and feelings with the spoken word, both choice of words and tone of voice.
  • Nonverbal communication expresses thoughts and feelings without words (facial expressions, body posture, hand gestures, direct or indirect eye contact, patient or impatient listening, gentle or rough touch, style of dress and clothing, apathetic or silent responses, platonic or romantic kisses, style of discipline, use of money or gifts).

The Hebrew word dabar, which means “word,” is used in the Old Testament to express the concept of communication. It implies speaking about a matter. The Bible, referred to as God’s Word, speaks to us about God and is one of the ways God speaks to us on matters pertaining to life. Old Testament language also speaks about the life-giving power of God’s Word.

“He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.” (Psalm 107:20)

In New Testament Greek, logos (word) is not just “the expression of a thought, concept or idea,” but refers also to the name of an object. In the first chapter of John, “the Word” (logos) signifies the Divine Expression, Christ.

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

So, communication is much more than simply words. The big question for a believer in regard to communication is, “How can I communicate with others in a way that is most pleasing to God?”

The method of communication most pleasing to God is one that reflects Jesus Christ in all you say and do. That means allowing Jesus Christ to be Lord of your life … allowing Him to express His words and actions through you.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:16–17)

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