Freedom and Communication

A Word to Consider - Freedom and Communication
by Bill NeSmith

     There are few things more important than communication - the ability to speak, write, or convey thought, truth, emotion, and heart.  From the first words of a child to the last words or testament of the dying, the ability to communicate has the power to shift the atmosphere and bind up or set free all those that can hear.

     Again, whether our communication is in word, thought or deed, we have the ability to shape, to change, to bring down or build up a situation.  Many a careless deed has been provoked by poor communication and wars have been stopped by well-spoken and timely words.  I do not know the author but this link has a great presentation of Proverbs as related to communication.  

     We can all remember something that was done either by us or another person that left all involved with a sense of confusion trying to figure out where it all went wrong.  Deeds were done by someone because of misunderstanding the facts and leaving all those involved standing in a pile of broken relationships, failed unity and unhealthy expectations.  Everyone is left trying to grapple with a desire to understand, figure out or fix what appeared to be broken and confusing, and all because of misunderstanding, careless words or twisted perceptions quite often morphed or distorted by our own past wounds and experiences.  All of this reveals the power and importance of healthy communication.

     It takes courage to contend for communication, to keep the lines of communication open.  Scripture tells us that cowards will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.  Wisdom or even self-preservation would dictate that one take deliberate action to be courageous with regard to ensuring that relationships are not abandoned or destroyed due to failed communication.  To walk as a coward is to abandon your own opportunity for freedom.

     Scripture tells us that the devil is the ‘accuser of the brethren’.  He uses words, usually in thought and speculation, impression and opinion, to divide people one against the other.  Every time this happens, because the devil is the originator, you can count on all of it being absolutely invalid regarding truth.  He gets us to focus on facts rather than truth.  It has been said, ‘the facts are, but the truth is’.  Eve fell in this way by looking at a perceived fact about the forbidden fruit rather than the truth surrounding the healthy relationship between her and God.  One ill-perceived fact was used to bring God’s character into question.  This tactic and others by the devil have not stopped since.  Satan does the same tactic to get us to overlook the overall character of those with whom we have worked , loved or trusted.  One act may be fact, but truth remains that an action does not define the total relationship unless you focus on facts of the moment rather than the truth of relationship.  This is why the devil works to emphasize actions over relationship.

     But let us not blame the devil for everything that goes wrong.  All of us, as natural descendants of Adam, have a need for a renewed spirit to give us freedom from sin and our decaying and broken or fallen nature.  We are selfish, fearful, arrogant, bigoted, wounded, mean, lovers of self and the list goes on for quite a while.  This is not a negative word; if we were honest in the quietness of our own assessment we would admit that this is correct. This is only one reason why mankind, all of us individually, needs Jesus Christ to forgive and redeem us and His Holy Spirit to help and teach us.  The facts are that we deserve the highest penalty for our actions but the truth is God loves us so much that He sent His Son to purchase us and our freedom from a sinful nature if we surrender to Him as Lord.

     Truth is worth contending for while we work to keep the facts in check until they are collectively understood.  Jesus tells us in John 17:17 that the Word of God is truth and how many wrong actions have been put into motion because people did not fully understand the Truth.

     Some contend that freedom is the ability to do what you want, when, where and how you want.  This is not freedom, it is irresponsibility.  This is the intent to do something without the cost of consequence or outcome.  This type of freedom is the absence or discarding of responsibility.  True freedom is driven by consequence and rests or aims for the acceptable outcome.  So freedom in communication would be cognizant of or attentive to the natural outcome of our words.  This is the challenge of healthy communication.

     Communication greatly involves listening.   Listening is sown in the desire to understand. Listening is more than hearing; it is working to gain an understanding of the details given, as well as, the person or group conveying them.  Listening is an act of empathy or the desire to put oneself in the place of another.  To listen is to become one with the one you are hearing – if only for the purpose of understanding his position and needs.  Many a relationship has been abandoned because one party walked away and quit communicating.

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace’ (Eph. 4:3)

     Not that I have already attained but, because I seek freedom in all its forms, I press on to better understand the qualities of healthy communication.  Freedom in communication is not silent or muzzled by fear of outcome or reprisal, nor is it loud and used as a weapon by the more verbal or articulate.  Freedom is found when all parties stand as equal in respect and appreciation otherwise there is a greater and a lesser and that arrangement ultimately leads to oppression either subtly or intentionally.  Jesus Christ made us to live free and equal.

‘There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.’ (Gal. 3:28)

‘It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.’  (Gal. 5:1)

     Yes, there are times when we must get something off of our chest, but to verbally vomit on someone to make ourselves feel better will never have an acceptable outcome.  Thoughts are easy to change but words spoken can either heal or wound and ill spoken words can leave a lasting transformative and often unintentional scar.  Many a regret has come from hurtful words spoken to convey truth and many scars have been created in the process.  Learning to communicate in a way that brings honor to God takes practice but the outcome maintains a unity that cannot be overpowered or made ineffective. The devil knows this.

     Many of us have heard our parents with those familiar words, ‘Use your words!’, after we have let out a less than agreeable tone to a sibling or a playmate.  Communication is not the open mouthed, vile dumping of thought and opinion. To walk in true freedom with regard to communication, we must first be good listeners.  We can listen to other people, read books and study, or of course let Holy Spirit help us understand or see things the way God sees them.  After all, our ways are not His ways and His ways are so much higher than ours.  

     Freedom in communication is seizing for ourselves and granting (even encouraging) others the grace and time to develop the Godly skills necessary to be a part of the unity of faith while addressing the bond of peace.  The Church is called to speak the truth in love and the world is waiting – even groaning to hear our words of life.  We must learn them, we must speak them.  Our personal struggles to overcome are for their greater good.  You may have to wait for the right timing but taking the time will always be the right thing to do.

‘Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.’   (2 Cor.5:20)

And Each Other!

How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”’   (Rom. 10:14-15)

We must learn because they are waiting!

 

Freedom and Communication