Communication is connection. Connection is relationship. While many factors impact the quality of relationships one clear key is communication. Communication determines how we perceive each other, how we feel about each other and how well we connect with each other.
Back to Speech 101: Communication involves a sender launching a message to a receiver. Sounds easy right? Yet when real life hits, we realize that many things interfere with the original message before it gets received well. Good connections are more rare than they should be. But we should not give up working on the process. Remember communication IS relationship.
This week we are going to look at how to improve this part of our relationship through Jesus’ principles. To prepare I invite you to think of the different ways you have experienced well-intentioned communication go bad. See how many you can think of. Which one are you most likely to cause on your side of the equation? Understanding the problem is a big step to embracing the right solution.
As a preview I want to share one principle with you here. First the problem: we just don’t listen very well. We distract ourselves from hearing by looking at texts, emails, e-books, video games, or movies all the while pretending to be in a conversation. We literally don’t process the words people are sending our way.
Other times we stop listening, finish their message in our mind without hearing it and formulate a response to the message we didn’t really hear in the first place. Just like our computer programs, a conversation begins and we fill in the blanks with minimal information, get defensive, angry or some other kind of emotion drawn from our personal histories and don’t let the rest of the message enter.
Jesus has a brilliant answer to solve this problem. He has a repeated saying of that at first seems like a throwaway line. But stopping to look closer this week I am discovering His incredible, simple genius all over again. Here it is,
“And He was saying, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:9).
He reminds us that there is a HUGE difference between hearing and listening. So… one big thing we can do to improve communication- straight from the lips of Jesus- is if you are capable of hearing make sure you are listening. THE PRINCIPLE: Listen to Understand! Lean in, focus engage all your senses and receive as much of their message as you possible can. Listen to their words, their heart, their passion, and their omissions.
This is just a preview. I hope you will join us this weekend for more on this crucial subject. This might be the one thing that can transform your relationships for the better.