Communication has existed from before the beginning of time. And it began with God. When he created everything, through speech. He simply spoke and it all came into being.
God used communication to construct, and he wants us to do likewise.
Through it he created a safe place, provided for his creature’s needs, and set protective boundaries. There was no negativity until Adam and Eve decided to disobey and stray from his good ways.
Everything took on negative aspects then, even communication. And we see these from the early chapters of Genesis onward, with blame-passing, anger, evasion, and lying. In many ways communication has become more complex today, but it still adds up to a transmission of thoughts, feelings, and ideas.
The problem is that it’s much more natural and easier for us to use communication as a slashing weapon, not to construct. And the same holds true whether for speech, writing, facial expressions, or body language.
So the question is how can we learn to use communication as a tool of edification?
Christ taught that we speak out of the abundance of our hearts. From it comes either good or evil, love or hate. Care and kindness of others, or mean-spirited treatment. I don’t think any of us really want to be mean, uncaring people. Yet when we neglect our hearts, that’s exactly how they can become.
It all boils down to how we fill them.
Good thoughts, words, and actions come from filling our heart with God’s goodness. And that can help us open our lips or hit that send button in such a way that we will be pleasing to the Lord.
In moments of extreme anger or frustration we seldom have the presence of mind to stop and think clearly. And risk spewing negativity onto others. So let’s look at 4 simple truths that can help us turn our tongues (and all communication) into building tools!
4 principles for taming the tongue into a positive, constructive force.
1. See others through Christ’s eyes.
Seeing them with his eyes of abundant love can teach us to love in the same way. And by having his abundant love in our hearts, real love can begin to flow out to them.
2. Take in wholesome communication.
As the saying goes, “Garbage in, garbage out.” Much of what is out there in films, books, TV, social media, and internet is filled with negativity. Things that criticize and tear others down.
But by ensuring that even our entertainment focuses on all that is true, honorable, just, pure, and lovely – that’s what our hearts will be filled with. We will think lovely thoughts – even of others – and be more likely to construct and edify, not cut down or criticize.
3. Remember all that Christ has done for you and forgiven you of.
Recalling how much Christ has forgiven us and how much love he has showered on us, makes it that much easier to treat others with kindness, mercy, and forgiveness.
4. Don’t think too highly of yourself.
Criticism often stems from our own pride or insecurity. Wanting or needing to feel better about ourselves, we sometimes cut others down, making ourselves feel even worse, not better. For we know it’s wrong, and that we have become not a better person, but worse.
In Christ, we are all equal, in need of his love, grace, and forgiveness. Seeing ourselves on that equal plane with others, is a great leveler of both our pride and self-worth. And can help us see that others often struggle with these things.
So when you feel either pride slipping in, or insecurity damaging your self-worth – find someone you can compliment or encourage, instead of focusing on your own woes.