Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Importance of Communication within Relationships

I have been remiss in communicating with you the last three weeks. That is because I have been very busy communicating with my Bible Study group and with others. That is not an excuse, but just the reason that I haven’t gotten this blog out sooner. I should know better, because communication is extremely important in life. Without communication we cannot develop relationships, and without the development of some type of relationship we cannot actively mentor another person. As we have discussed in the past, relationships are not only very important in our own lives, but are also important to the lives of other people as well.  In fact, it is extremely important to develop relationships with other women not only in order to be there for them when they need help, but in order to be able to communicate with them so we can know when they need our help.

Communication is how we develop a relationship with another person, i.e., if we know how to communicate with respect and kindness. Communication covers so many different avenues or methods, and we are not limited to only one type of communication. For example, we can talk directly to another person, we can tell someone else to let another person know that we are thinking about them or praying for them, we can pick up the telephone and call a person, or we can text the person, especially if we don’t have time to talk on the phone.

In our technological world today, there are even more ways to communicate than the previous tried and true ways of communication in the past. We can now communicate using such things as twitter, emails, messenger, Facebook, Snap-Chat, Skype and a few others besides just the tried and true methods of face-to-face communication, telephoning, actual letter writing or the writing of notes of support that we can send out to someone when they are needed. With all the latest technology and the ease of staying in contact with another person, one would think that actual communication would be even greater than it has been in the past. However, that isn’t necessarily the case. Today, we often fail to communicate adequately, let alone communicate to understand what someone is going through or thinking. 

Yes, we have all these new technological communicating methods or tools, but in our fast-paced and often ungrateful and rude society, these various technological means of communication have just allowed us to by-pass decency, concern, caring, etiquette, and kindness. Instead, of taking the time to talk to people and to discuss our differences or ideas on certain subjects, many people now use these new communication tools as a quick means of saying hateful things, of posting some political rhetoric, of showing others how stupid they think that someone is, or as a quick method of supporting some agenda. Those so-called newer methods of communication often just end up encouraging hateful words and personal diatribes of communication, which are often used as a means of telling someone how superior the so-called communicator thinks he/she is over another person.

In the end the one who is posting all the hateful words via twitter, emails, texting, etc. is not really communicating (i.e. they are not allowing for an actual back and forth discussion that allows both parties to glean some type of understanding from each other or that will allow one or both parties to learn something new about the other person.). Instead, some people who are using the new fast and simple means of communication are actually telling the world about their insecurities, hurts, and anger, as well as sometimes presenting their lack of etiquette and couthfulness to the world.

Communication as a Two-way Endeavor

What happened to just common courtesy or simple caring about another person? Part of the problem is that we have forgotten that true communication is supposed to be a two-way endeavor. Rather than just saying or shouting out what we want to say, we need to think about the other person and we should want to hear their response to our statements or questions. And instead of thinking that everyone else should want to hear what we have to say, we should want to hear what the other person with whom we are communicating has to say and what their opinions are on different subjects that are supposed to be discussed. That doesn’t mean that we have to immediately accept what they have said as the answer to all our questions or as a means of perceiving the world around us the way that they do, but it should mean that we are willing to mull over what they have said and then politely explain why we agree or disagree with their thought process on the subject matter.

Running down another person has never gotten anyone anywhere and it certainly will not make friends. Many times it just shows their ignorance. Moreover, not being willing to even engage in a give or take conversation will actually stop the conversation in its tracks.  And, if the conversation ends in belittling or yelling, either on one side or both sides, one or both of the two people trying to communicate have just made themselves an enemy or at the very least have given the other person a reason to never want to talk to them again.

When God gave us voices and brains with which to form logical sentences and to be able to communicate with each other, He did not plan on us belittling, conniving, and ultimately hurting each other with our words just because we have the vocal ability to do so within our ability to communicate. But, God did know that all (i.e., each) of us would have to overcome living in this fallen world after Adam and Eve sinned. Part of the overcoming of the evil within this fallen world is the ability to overcome the evil that is within ourselves; such as selfishness, sinfulness, jealousy, immorality, idol worship, pride, greed, and the desire for power over others among the many other fleshly evils and sinfulness that can arise in the hearts of men and women.

Salvation and Heavenly Bodies

There is only one way to overcome our fleshly desires and our innate evil and that is through the Cross. We are all born sinners and can only be forgiven of our sins through belief on the One and only Son of God, Jesus Christ, who died on a cross for our sins. Christ arose from the grave and overcame eternal death. In belief on Christ, we can have eternal life. In fact, through Jesus Christ each of us can live better and more caring lives here on earth knowing that we will one day reside in Heaven with God and His Son, Jesus Christ, when we discard our physical bodies in this earthly death, or if Jesus returns before we die here on earth we know we will receive new heavenly bodies in the air. For, if we have believed in Jesus Christ as the risen Son of God who is now in Heaven preparing a place for us, we will never die again, because we will live forever, i.e., eternally with Christ.

Our earthly bodies, which die and decay, will be different when they are resurrected, for they will never die. Our bodies now disappoint us, but when they are raised, they will be full of glory. They are weak now, but when they are raised, they will be full of power. They are natural human bodies now, but when they are raised, they will be spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, so also there are spiritual bodies. … It will happen in a moment, in the blinking of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, the Christians who have died will be raised with transformed bodies. And then we who are living will be transformed so that we will never die. For our perishable earthly bodies must be transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die.” 
-- (I Corinthians 15: 42-44, 52-54. NLT).

Do you know Christ as your Savior? If not, you can communicate with God and Jesus Christ through prayer asking for Christ to forgive you of your sins and then being willing to accept Christ's Salvation. If you still need some help understanding the path to Salvation, please reach out to a born-again Christian. That Christian can share the Gospel message with you and pray with you. “For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For, it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.”  -- (Romans 10: 9-10.

Communication is Important for any Type of Active Mentoring.

Whether you are sharing the Gospel message, helping another person through some trial or just helping empower them to be able to do something they could not do before, you need to be able to communicate with them. Good communication requires a heart that cares and is willing to listen to what the other person has to say. Only through two-way discussions are people able to listen and learn from each other. The same is true when it comes to listening to God and the Holy Spirit and then talking to Him about your needs. And, just like we are to praise God for the great and wonderful God that He is and for all the things that He does for us, we are to also be willing to praise our mentees for their accomplishments and their willingness to learn.

When mentoring another person, whether it is a friend, a spouse, a child, or co-worker, we have to be able to communicate with them in a way that does not alienate them or hurt them. We also have to be willing to listen to what the other person has to say and then be willing to hear their needs within their communication with us. We certainly cannot allow pride in ourselves or pride in what we think that we know to keep us from being caring, kind, and understanding listeners. And, sometimes we have to throw out preconceived ideas about a person or the subject matter in order to get to the truth and to understand the other person better.

The failure to communicate with the other person, i.e., the mentee, can destroy a relationship or it can keep a mentoring relationship from forming. Yes, communication takes time. It takes time out of our own lives, but the reward of gracious, kind, and caring communication with a mentee is greater than we can even imagine when we see the mentee being empowered to be more than they ever thought they could be.

So, whether you are communicating with your friend, your spouse, your child, a family member, a co-worker, or even an acquaintance, please remember that true communication is not only you doing the talking, but is also allowing the person with whom you wish to communicate with to talk too. For good communication is a two-way street, and it is also having the determination to try to understand that other person and their needs and desires. Good communication has nothing to do with anger, hatefulness, meanness, or selfishness. Now, go out and communicate for God.

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