«He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him (Proverbs I b: 13).
The story is told of a minister who sent his teenage son to the post and telegraph office to send a telegram to congratulate a young parishioner who had recently gotten married. The minister gave clear instructions to the youngster. The telegraphic message he should send was the following: «Read 1 John 4:18.» Not paying attention, the boy omitted the first number and sent the message: «Read John 4:18.» When the bride received the telegram, she rushed to look up in the Bible the message chosen especially for her. Had it been correct, the verse would have been beautiful and a appropriate for the occasion, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear» (1 John 4: 18). However, the young woman’s face showed great shock when she read, «the one whom you now have is not your husband» (John 4:18).
Many interpersonal problems are caused by poor communication. Those who issue the message have in their mind an intention and a concept that can be very different from what is received. Moreover, if the receiver does not hear or only hears part of the message, the message fails and can cause problems
Misunderstandings happen frequently within families. Today, the ability to listen attentively has become rare. Both spouses have different concerns. So, when one speaks, the other does not listen and may even provide an answer without listening, as today’s verse tells us. Children and youth have their own interests and, very often, they do not seem to listen. The Scripture warns us to be swift to hear and slow to speak (James 1: 19), because listening is a blessing and being listened to produces a therapeutic effect.
In reality, love is the best foundation for communication, «Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love» (Rom. 12:10). If we love our interlocutor, we won’t need to take a course on communication techniques. If our attitude is less selfish and more focused on the other, our communication will improve.
Resolve today to listen, understand, and completely absorb the messages your son, spouse, mother, father, fellow worker, neighbor, or friend sends you. Above all, look at your peers as God’s children who are created and redeemed by Him. You will be surprised by the beautiful results this attitude will bring about for you and the person you are listening to.