Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Today, we're moving on in our study of taking care of the people in our home.
Here are some important principles of communication. We do well to practice these ourselves and to teach them to our children:
1. Listen! Listen! Listen! Especially listen before you speak.
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry...James 1:19 He who answers before listening— that is his folly and his shame. Proverbs 18:13.
2. Never jump to conclusions before knowing all of the facts:
The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him. Proverbs 18:17
Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Luke 6:37-38
3. Always believe the best of a person unless proven otherwise.
Love thinks no evil. I Corinthians 13 Love believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. I Corinthians 13
4. Pray about what different people need. Meditate carefully about how to talk with different types of people. Realize that one person may need different things at different times: sometimes encouragement, sometimes a correction -- sometimes gentleness, sometimes sternness. Speak what is fitting to the person and the situation.
And we exhort you, brethren, admonish the disorderly, encourage the fainthearted, support the weak, be longsuffering toward all. I Thessalonians 5:14
A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. Proverbs 25:11
5. Calm a quarrel with a gentle answer. Don't accelerate an argument by being defensive or harsh in your reply. Also calm quarrels by refusing to gossip.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down. Proverbs 26:20
6. Keep no record of wrongs. Forgive!!
Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:12-15
7. Do not repay evil with evil, but with a blessing. This requires trust that God will take care of you, even if something does not seem fair in the moment.
If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:32-35
Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, "Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. I Peter3:8-10
8. Be honest in your speech.
An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips. Proverbs 24:26 A truthful witness saves lives, but a false witness is deceitful. Proverbs 14:25
He who rebukes a man will in the end gain more favor than he who has a flattering tongue. Proverbs 28:23
9. If someone offends you or you see someone in sin, talk just to that person in private -- first. Then, if the matter does not get resolved, bring in someone to be an impartial mediator.
If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. Matthew 18:15-16
10. Pray for wisdom. Ask God to help you have godly, wise, and kind speech.
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. James 1:5
The plans of the heart belong to man; But the answer of the tongue is from Jehovah. Proverbs 15:1
She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. Proverbs 31:26
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14
Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips. Psalm 141:3
11. Store up good things in your heart. What you meditate about, what you brood about will come out in your speech:
The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:45
12. Let your motivation always be the highest good of the other person; cultivate wholesomeness of speech.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29 NIV
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
Ephesians 4:29 NASB
Note: There are many great books about home, family, and marriage that are available today. There are also many exciting resources available on the Internet. I would have loved to have had access to when I was a brand new bride and, then, a brand new mother. Also, churches provide family, youth, and teen ministries. These are all wonderful things.
However, in the case of anything put together by man -- or woman in the case of this blog -- what should our attitude be? We would do well to imitate the Bereans mentioned in Acts 17:11:
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. KJV
Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. NIV version.
What was their attitude? 1) They had a love for the word of God. They were eager to hear the message that Paul was proclaiming. They were not critical or closed-hearted to the word of God.
2) Yet, even in the case of an inspired apostle speaking to them, they examined the scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. They used the scriptures as their guide to weigh the truth of the matter.
Of course, Paul was proclaiming the gospel to them. Homemaking resources -- including this blog -- are not the gospel, though they may be based on scripture or be in alignment with spiritual truth. If the Bereans weighed the gospel message spoken directly from an apostle by the word of God, how much more so should we weigh other things we read and hear against the truth of God's word. This applies to what our parents teach us, what we learn in church, what tradition tells us, what our culture tells us, what we read, what we hear -- we must continually take all the things that influence us back to the word of God. Again, we don't do this with an attitude of mistrust or criticism, but with an eagerness to be taught by the Lord in all things. We listen intently for the voice of our loving Shepherd, and we follow eagerly after him. See John 10 3-5, John 10:14-16
Remember, when it comes to instruction in taking care of people, including your family, the Bible is your standard.
Other than the Bible, what is the main method God has given us for learning how to care for and love our families?
Titus 2:3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
Jesus trained his disciples through relationship. He took his disciples with Him nearly everywhere. They spent time with Him. They watched Him in his ministry. He taught them. They saw how He interacted with them and with other people. They learned through their relationship with Him.
In the same way, God has given many instructions in the Bible, especially in the New Covenant, for developing godly relationships in the church. These relationships are one way that the Lord nurtures our faith and brings us to maturity. We need to be in a church with close and nurturing relationships. We also need examples in our daily life of women -- especially older women -- who follow Christ and who love their husbands and families. We need a few people within church who are especially close to us and who know us inside and out and whom we know, as well.
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. Hebrews 3:13
Think about it: The happiest people in the world are those who do the most for others. Booker T. Washington.
A game to help younger children learn communication skills: Adapted from an idea from the book, "Home is a fun place to be," by Pat Hershey:
Sit on the floor with your child. (It's helpful to play this one on one with a child and also to do it in a group with all of your children.)
You hold a ball. As you roll it to your child, you throw out a conversation opener. An example of a conversation opener might be, "_____, how are you today?"
In order for the child to roll the ball back to you, he must say something that will "roll" the conversation back to you. In other words, if you ask, "How are you today," and he says simply, "Fine," he has not rolled the conversation back to you. He has simply caught the conversational ball.
One way he could roll the conversation back to you is to say, "I'm fine. How are you?" Or, he could say, "I'm fine. I like this weather," or "I'm fine. I like this weather; don't you?"
Keep rolling the ball and see how long you can keep the conversation going. In a real conversation, the goal isn't to keep talking as long as possible. But, seeing how long you can do it with the ball is a fun way to learn the art of give and take in the talk between two people. With young children, you may need to prompt them about how to roll the conversation back to you the first couple of times you play. Gradually, they will catch on. You can use the game to show a child how to close out a conversation, as well.
Likely, after a few times of playing this, your child will understand a little bit better how to carry a conversation. Once he or she gets the idea, the game is no longer needed -- though, of course, you can continue to play it just for fun if you like.
Happy Home Economics!