How to Speak in a Way That Will Be Heard
“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” Ephesians 4:29
I walked through our school office last year and observed two prospective students texting while sitting in our lobby and when I stopped to introduce myself I also humorously asked one who they were texting. To my surprise, he pointed to the student on the other side of the lobby. With all the technology that we have today, I am not sure that communication has really improved.
George Bernard Shaw once quipped: “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” I think that statement still holds true today in many cases. However, miscommunication may be an even bigger problem than the lack of communication that exists. I see this so often when I observe all that goes on in social media posts.
It grieves my heart to see so many of the unhealthy posts that appear on social media. It is bothersome to see people post negative comments or thoughts about someone else or to agree with someone who is doing that. I heard someone say once that “you are what you post.” I am afraid that could become what our testimony looks like to those around us if we do not take a different approach.
As Christians, I am convinced that God does hold us to a higher standard. Ephesians 4:29 is clear in telling us what kind of communication should come out from us. If we follow the truth of this verse, we can begin to communicate in a way that we can be assured that we will be heard.
First, we need to make sure that we do not allow anything unwholesome or harmful to come out of our mouth or in anything we post. I understand that we all get upset about certain situations and we want to be heard. However, this verse does not give us that option. It says “no corrupt communication” and does not give an exception when we feel we have been wronged in some way. If we will speak the truth in love, we can begin to be heard.
Next, we are to use words that will edify others. What does it mean to edify? In the Christian context, it means to strengthen someone or be strengthened in relationship to God, the Christian walk, and holiness. We cannot say or post negative things about someone else and expect to edify at the same time. If we want to be heard, we must look to edify others.
Finally, we want to minister grace to the people who will hear what we have to say. How is grace defined? "Grace may be defined as the unmerited or undeserving favor of God”. Ephesians 4:29 is calling us to minister that same kind of unmerited favor to others when they speak. How do we do that? We do that by showing respect and honor to others in how we speak or post. We also do that by going directly to that person and not to others to talk about whatever the issue is. If we want to be heard, we must minister grace to others.
I want to be the kind of Christian who follows the truth of Ephesians 4:29. As the Head of this great school, I pray that I will always communicate this way with you. As well, I pray that you will always do the same for us. In doing so, I believe that God will be glorified and our relationships will grow stronger.