Guest Post: Five Big No No’s in Communication

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This post was written by Pastor Harley Snode and posted at his website. I appreciate him agreeing to allow me to guest post this thought provoking article. 


Would you agree that our communication skills are slipping at an alarming rate toward the grammatical gutter?  The trends of the “Communication Age” are not just concerning on an academic or social level but also on a moral and spiritual level.  I recently read, “Your thumbs are your new tongue. Guard them carefully. When they are used a lot, trouble is sure to follow.” 

Jesus, our Savior and Lord who still makes the verbal rules, admonishes us, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (Jn. 6:63)

May I provide you with five never-valid modes of profitless communication with your thumbs, lips, or even non-verbal communication:

Exaggeration-a statement that represents something as better or worse than it really is.

Pathology: Frequently employs one hundred percent statements (“always, never”); Distorts the positive/negative attributes without including the offsetting characteristics or clarifying context of other data points; Driven with one-upmanship toward peers at home, work, church, etc.; Comparison is king

Consequences: Loss of credibility; Doing ministry and spiritual activity for the wrong motivations; Breaking with reality; Deceived into doing the opposite with personal sin-diminishing/excusing it away; Not allowing Christ alone to be the source of identity, acceptance, success (Do you know that it is impossible to exaggerate when speaking exclusively of Christ?!?!)

This exploding expression in our post-modern culture has led to a proclivity to propagate and accept “fake news” that fits our predisposed bias.  (We not only widely accept grammatical errors in our texting; we also tolerate and embrace fudged figures and skewed facts more readily than ever before.)

Pessimism-a tendency to see the worst aspect of things or believe that the worst will happen; a lack of hope or confidence in the future.

Pathology: Savors and shares any juicy story that reveals the underbelly of a celebrity, politician, or organization; Remains aloof and “analytical” where one should be engaged and participatory; Deflects from own weaknesses by redirecting the spotlight to the shortcomings of others; Trolling for “gotcha” content online

Consequences: Constantly living in a reactionary mode; Consumed with fear; Constantly possessing a critical, cynical spirit; Inability to share meaningful, intimate connection with other people; Lost opportunities to edify others; A dim, despondent view of the future that leaves God out of the equation

This verbal trend leads to our default, valid position always being negative instead of the peace-giving bias toward a “good report” (Ph. 4:6-8).

Sarcasm-the use of irony to mock or convey contempt.

Pathology: Using so-called humor to communicate caustic truth; Indifference to the backstory of other’s mistakes/failures; Jumping to conclusions or assumptions in a reckless manner; A pervasive focus upon making others feel stupid; Thriving on “awkward”

Consequences: Inability to hold a serious conversation or consider serious subject matter; Squandering verbal ability with meaningless banter; Immaturity in tone and pace of conversation; Digressing into a person with zero influence (Reasonable people ultimately tune this tone out.)

The bottom line is, as my high school English teacher Mrs. Donough repeatedly put it, “Sarcasm is not an effective means of communication.” (This is especially true for those of us who possess a God-given “pulpit” of public influence.)

Passive Aggression-indirect resistance to the demands of others and an avoidance of direct confrontation, as in procrastinating, pouting, or misplacing important materials.

(Before we go on, I must clarify that I have NOBODY as the mental profile picture beside each or all of these on the list.  Therefore this is not a passive-aggressive post toward someone indirectly.)

Pathology: Speaks to everybody except the person with whom there is a problem; Posts vague references of criticism on online hoping for third-party sympathy and goaded retaliation from the person being indirectly attacked; Studies to be adept at “pushing the buttons” that evoke strong, negative emotions in others

Consequences: Squandering excessive amounts of time hoping to garner sympathy or drama that rarely materializes; Never addressing/resolving conflicts; A growing inability to have direct dialogue with other people; Shrinking numbers of people to whom you can still approach in real time and space and have sweet fellowship; Can only focus on the loud chinks in the armor of others

This is a blight upon the local church today…especially through the enabling of social media where everyone has a voice-a voice to attack issues and people for which they have no responsibility or influence.  (If you cannot be a part of the solution, you have no business speaking on the problem!)

Stream of Consciousness-a literary style in which a character’s thoughts, feelings, and reactions are depicted in a continuous flow uninterrupted by objective description or conventional dialogue.

Obviously social media has unleashed this verbal tendency into a constant temptation with instantaneous access to the world.  (This trend is especially embodied by many of our leaders today in politics, entertainment, sports, etc.)

Pathology: Unfiltered emotions spewing out; Immediate, reactionary thoughts online or in person (“thinking out loud”); Discussing in public forums what should be reserved for private reflection; Unwillingness to be still and quiet; Way to much volume (in amount and decibel levels) of talk,talk, talk

Consequences: Regret about words that can never be taken back; Unnecessary/unproductive drama with complete strangers or expired relationships from the past; Expression of underdeveloped, immature content that discourages or misleads others; Flippant interaction/sharing with crude or inappropriate content

The most sobering reality of “just speaking my mind” is that it eliminates any sacred space for the Word of Christ to dwell in us richly or the Spirit of God to saturate our soul-all that is left is carnal consciousness!

You can like or dislike this post, agree or disagree but…listen to what Jesus has to say:

Mt 12:32-33 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

And we honestly think they’re “only words” and “don’t matter?”  Nothing God-honoring was or ever will be built with exaggeration, pessimism, sarcasm, passive-aggression, or stream of consciousness!  Ever!  (They will always be faulty building materials no matter how normalized they become.)  I give you permission to confront me if you hear a single syllable online or in person where my communication wanders into one of these five no nos.  Will you grant that same permission to the Lord, your spouse, your pastor, your mentor, even your children/grandchildren?  It is time to elevate our God-given ability from the world’s pig pen of meaningless chatter to the propagation of the grace and truth that is found only in Jesus Christ!

What other verbal tendencies do you observe that we need to nix in our progressive sanctification?

A New Song

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The Christian life is a new life. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Everything is new. There is a positional and progressive sense to that. Before our God, we are made new. Where once the sin nature was firmly rooted, now a new nature is found. By faith in Jesus Christ alone, for the forgiveness of our sinfulness, we are now clothed in Christ’s righteousness. The progressive sense is that our daily lives are to be changing to match what is positionally true about us. We are clothed in Christ righteousness and we are to be becoming more Christ-like every single day.

Every area of our life should be changing from being world-like to Christ-like.

One of the many areas that the Bible indicates should change following salvation is the kind of song we sing. Psalm 40:1–3 says, “I waited patiently for the LORD; And he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. 2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. 3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: Many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.” Here in this passage of Scripture we discover the new song principle. This song is fresh and it is different from the old song. Whereas the old song used to revel in sin, rebellion, lawlessness and immorality, the new song clearly rejoices in truth, purity, love and Jesus Christ. In verse three, the new song is so distinctly different that the world hears it and fears God to the point they place their trust in Him. Do the songs you sing and listen to demonstrate the new song principle? Does your music cause the unsaved in your life to turn to God?

Let’s consider one further thought. When we are saved, the Holy Spirit of God comes to reside within us. He is an amazing gift of our Heavenly Father. He is the guarantee of our salvation. In Ephesians 5:18 we are told,  “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;” As believers, we are not to be allowing alcohol to control us at all because it is the highway to excess, that is every sin imaginable. We are to be filled or controlled by the Holy Spirit of God. According to the next verse, one of the indicators of that filling is the song we sing. Ephesians 5:19 “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;” This means if we are listening to and obeying the promptings of the Holy Spirit of God, our music is going to be made up of Scripture (Psalms), of truth and doctrine (Hymns) and of the Holy Spirit (Spiritual songs), not our flesh. We are going to sing praise (making melody) to God. Our song is to be from the regenerated heart to our Lord. It is important to realize that the one being praised is also the one who determines the acceptability of our praise. This is why it is so important to allow God to have a say in the music we listen to in our homes, our cars or on our earbuds.

Music is a massively important subject for the Christian. Satan uses music to drive his agenda deep into the heart of the lost world. When a Christian listens to fleshly, worldly secular music, their heart will be steeled against the life-changing truth of God’s Word. Have you checked your music with God? Is your music hindering your spiritual growth? Does your music cause you to meditate/imagine about God? Is your music clearly different from the music of the world both in words and actual music? I pray that God will give you discernment as you seek to please God in the area of music.

 

Listen to these Brief Thoughts on Music
Internet Conservative Christian Radio
(Most of these have an app available at their website for smart devices)

Abiding Radio

KNVBC

Faith Music Radio

Bible Truth Radio

When Fire Falls

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Recently I was listening to a sermon that really gripped my attention. We live in a day of so many false realities. The world is in search for something is real. This message challenged my heart to seek the power of God on my life and ministry as opposed to pursuing pragmatic philosophy. I hope this message will encourage you in the same way.

When Fire Falls by William Maricle

God’s “Bigness”

God often brings us to situations that are bigger than our faith, experience, resources and the human help available to us. Time after time in Scripture, God allowed men and women to come face to face with their own limitations in order that He might prove his “bigness.” Think about a few (of many) illustrations with me.

Abraham and Sarah

God had promised that He would make Abraham’s family to grow in the generations to come to be as numberless as the sand of the seashore. That’s a big family tree! Yet, Abraham and Sarah had no children. They were rapidly ageing and Sarah had long passed her children bearing days. Humanly, physically what God had promised was impossible. In Genesis 18:14 the question was asked of Abraham, “Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.” The correct answer is “NOTHING!” Even though there were some moments of doubt, Abraham believed God and God gave them a son through Sarah.

The Unnamed Widow

In 2 Kings 4 we find a widow of a godly servant of the Lord in a crisis situation. Debt collectors were coming after her for the debts her husband had left behind. She did not have the resources necessary nor the physical strength to work to earn the money necessary to pay off the debt. She met the prophet Elisha to get some advice. He gave instruction as to how God would meet the need. The need would not be met by human strategy but simple obedience to a “God-plan.” This was a plan that would totally fail if God did not come through. She was to take a pot of oil, that she had, and fill as many borrowed pots that she could. She then was to sell the oil and use the proceeds to pay off her debt. As many pots as she borrowed, God gave oil to fill. God fully met her need!

Jehoshaphat

In 2 Chronicles 20 we find king Jehoshaphat in an impossible situation. The armies of Moab, Ammon and others were marching to invade Judah. As Jehoshaphat received the news, he and all of Judah began to fear and tremble. This enemy alliance would certainly crush them. By all human predictions, they were done. There was no hope. Jehoshaphat called the people of Judah to seek God by prayer and fasting. He prayed, “O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.” (2 Chronicles 20:12) Notice his complete reliance and dependence on God. Without God doing something God-sized, they were done! God told him that the battle would be the LORD’s. Long story short, they went out to battle and God fought for them. The end of the story is amazing! 2 Chronicles 20:27 “Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat in the forefront of them, to go again to Jerusalem with joy; for the LORD had made them to rejoice over their enemies.

Here is the bottom line! God is bigger than every problem, enemy, fear, need, financial shortfall, circumstance, health issue, church need and all our own human limitations. God delights in proving his “bigness.” Trust Him to be as big in your situation as He has revealed Himself to be throughout the pages of the Bible.