Scripture Passage: Proverbs 18:21
The most important thing to have in a Christian home, other than a love for the Lord, is communication. In fact, most of the insight found in the Book of Proverbs has to do with how we speak and listen to one another.
Have you ever heard anybody say, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me”? Don’t believe it. It’s not true.
The greatest hurts often come from spoken words. They come from forceful coercion between spouses. They come from nagging, callused words to a child, and disrespectful remarks to a parent.
Wrong words can destroy a home.
Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” There is great power in communication. And with great power comes a great responsibility.
Pastor and teacher Adrian Rogers says, “The highest form of fulfillment is sharing with someone else. It’s not having things. It’s not doing things. It is sharing.”
Healthy communication peaks when we have absolute, total openness with one another, spoken in discerning kindness and gentleness. This is a very difficult level to reach. It begins with our relationship with Jesus, with realizing that He has accepted us as we are, and wants us to accept who we are, too.
This doesn’t mean we condone our sin, or excuse our shortcomings. We are still sinners, and apart from God’s grace, we have nothing to offer. But because of His grace, because He has accepted us, we are instructed to have a healthy self-acceptance.
Because when you accept yourself, you can begin to accept others. You are no longer threatened. You no longer have to push others down to build yourself up. You are free to treat others with kindness, because you are, first, kind to yourself.
Communication is an ongoing process. It evolves over time spent together, and requires tune-ups and check-in’s. Yet there is nothing more important.
Apply it to your life
Do you feel like your relationship with your family or close friends is full of heartache and misunderstanding? How is your relationship with Jesus? Today, spend some time in prayer, asking Jesus to saturate your self-esteem with His grace. Pray through Proverbs, perhaps one chapter for each day in a month, and ask the Lord to convict you for how you speak to others.