2017-09-08 / Chaplain's News

Communication requires a speaker and a listener

707th Military Intelligence Battalion

One of the most helpful classes in my educational experience was a high school communication class.

Most students took Communication 101 as a blow- off course and truth be told that may have been why I originally signed up for it. However, what I learned in that class has had lifelong applications in my relationships with others.

For as I learned, communication requires both a speaker and a listener.

But more so, as the speaker and listener alternate roles, interpersonal communication happens as they share their thoughts, feelings and beliefs with one another.

Even now, all these many years later, I find that applying the basic principles of listening to and dialoguing with others helps me not only to get along with them, but also to strengthen those relationships.

I am sure that all of us can think of a situation when we resolved our differences with someone else once we took the time to hear things from their point of view.

What I am proposing does not mean that we always totally agree, but at least we understand where they are coming from and can practice mutual respect.

Long before my high school communication textbook was written, a leader in the early church was teaching people about the interpersonal view of communication.

His name was Paul, and he wrote about half of the books found in the New Testament. Reading any of Paul’s letters to the early Christians reveals his desire to bring about unity.

Like people of today, what Paul encountered was the shared desire for things to get better.

However, the early Christians often disagreed in how to bring about the required changes.

Listen to but one verse of Paul’s instructions, “. . . Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you,” 2 Corinthians 13:11 (New International Version).

As Paul explains, whenever we practice loving others what happens is the desired changes can occur.

It can be a win-win for everyone and most importantly we can grow in our relationship with God.

Whenever I find myself with inner turmoil, maybe I am mad at someone else or start to feel that life is unfair, what I am really doing is robbing myself of the joy of living in relationship with God and others.

But as I take the time to communicate with God – the grand creator of the universe who spoke and creation came into existence – what I receive is God’s unending, unfailing grace in receiving God’s love and grace, I am at peace once again and better able to love others as I am assured that God loves me.

The Bible even tells us that one important way God is revealed to the world is by the way we love others.

Today, if you have a relationship that needs to be strengthened – perhaps where forgiveness and reconciliation need to happen – practice the basic principle of loving others.

How do we love others? One way is by taking the time to listen to things from their point of view.

Also, talking things through helps to move beyond hurt feelings and to reach a consensus.

For as we read in 1 John 4:12, “No one has ever seen God; but if we love each other, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us (New International Version).”

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