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"The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, & the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." Luke 6:45

“What the Bible Says about Effective Communication”

We've all said things we shouldn't have at times, causing harm to ourselves and others. When we should have been peacemakers, tempers flared, and good intentions began to spiral out of control. If only we were more thoughtful, things could have turned out differently.

In what ways can we be more effective at reaching better outcomes with interpersonal communication? What does the Bible say about how we should communicate with one another? How can we avoid causing heated arguments and unnecessary pain?

Communicate with God First

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Your sight, Oh LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. - Psalms 19:14
Oh LORD, set a guard over my mouth; keep the door of my lips. - Psalms 141:3

Be prayerful and ask God to help you to speak the right words in your dealings with others. It's when we try to solve our problems without prayer that we make a mess of things. Nevertheless, if we would be mindful of God, we will be given wisdom to hurdle over communication barriers and more effectively share our feelings and concerns with others. There is no guarantee that you will please everyone, but as long as your words honor God, that's all that really matters. For pleasing God is the result of doing what is good.

Strive for Excellence in Speaking the Right Words

Listen; for I will speak of excellent things; from the opening of my lips shall be right things. For my mouth shall speak the truth. Wickedness is an abomination to my lips. All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing crooked or perverse in them. - Proverbs 8:6-8

The words we speak to others should edify and build up. Allowing our minds to be filled with wicked thoughts will lead to the wrong kind of communication. The Bible teaches us that we are strangers in this land - being in the world but not of it. If we communicate in a godless way, then we are demonstrating that we belong to the world, and are, therefore, setting a poor example of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Jesus said, that, "from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" (Matt. 12:34). What you hold in your heart will flow from your lips. In other words, words identify the nature of a person. Will you speak words that honor God or words that make you look like a hypocrite? How effective you are at leading people to love will depend on what you hold in your heart. It should be every believer's aim to follow Jesus' example. If there is something He wouldn't say, then you shouldn't say it either.

Don't be Harsh

Let no corrupt communication proceed from your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, so that it may minister grace to those who hear it. - Ephesians 4:29
A soft answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger. - Proverbs 15:1

If possible, before entering into a discussion that has the potential to get heated, ask the other person involved to pray with you. If things start to get out of control, then stop talking, and return to prayer. If we ask for God's guidance when dealing with conflict, better outcomes will flow. We will accomplish far more with God leading the conversation than if we were to be lead by our emotions.

Listen Carefully

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath. - James 1:19
The heart of the righteous answers thoughtfully; but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things. -Proverbs 15:28
It is foolish and shameful to draw a conclusion on a matter before hearing the facts. - Proverbs 18:13

One of the biggest reasons why conversations turn into battles, is people don't listen. Don't cut people off when they're talking but wait your turn. And never jump to conclusions without hearing the details. If something said does't sound right to you, then politely ask for clarification. Such behavior will go a long way in avoiding heated arguments and building lasting relationships.

Even if a person is mean-spirited towards you, try to remain calm. If you allow anger to get the best of you, then that will only add more fuel to the fire, and any positive outcome you hope to achieve will quickly diminish. Remember, your good conduct could influence a change of attitude.

© Chris Esty