COMMUNICATION – PART 2
1ST OF JUNE
Last time I was writing about leaders and pastors within the church. This time I want to write about communication in general and see what that leads to. I myself do not know any details before I start writing. I am totally dependent on the Holy Spirit.
God has created us with five senses and we are using all of them in communication. A small new-borne baby cannot talk, but it sees, hears, tastes and feels the touch. A baby is using its voice to cry or to make sounds. All of our senses are active tools in our communication. God has created us that way. There are those who are lacking one or more of them and they develop the others in a special way. A blind person uses the hearing and touching in a much stronger way. They read by using their fingers.
You might have thought about communication only in connection with talking, but that is only part of it. Haven’t you heard the expression: “love by first sight”? When we say that, we mean that two people fell in love by mere looking at each other. They liked what they saw and the eyes probably said: “I like you.” That first look led to another meeting and they started talking to each other and in many cases they became partners for life.We are actually communicating a lot with our eyes. We have another expression that goes like this: “If a look could kill, it would have done so.” You might say to another person that you think he or she is fine and likeable, but that does not mean much if your eyes say something else. I believe that it is easier to lie with your mouth than with your eyes. That might be the reason for saying that the eyes are the mirror of our soul.
I know that I “talk” with my whole body. I have participated in official discussions and afterwards people came, saying to me that they knew exactly what I thought without saying a word. I do quite a lot of marriage counseling and I had to work on this since I should be neutral and avoid taking side. It is quite interesting to study people’s body language. I have been preaching quite a lot and I can watch the audience. If they sit and are half asleep, I do know that I haven’t reached them. If they follow me with their eyes, I know that they are interested in what I am saying. Cultures can be quite different and in some congregations they confirm the message by shouting amen and hallelujah, but they might listen just as much in another place without saying anything.
I will go back to a couple being in love. They convey a lot by mere looking at each and by touching each other. They really want to be close to each other. Since God has created us with a sexual urge, they should protect themselves by being careful in the way they touch each other. We as Christians should practice sex within the frame of marriage.
A baby who is not touched, can in extreme cases die in lack of physical love. The baby’s first experience of communication is the physical closeness to the body of the mother. The child is nursed, the diapers are changed and when it cries, the baby is lifted up and held close to the mother or father. Later many more want to hold the baby. Many will ask: “May I hold the baby?” A child that has not experienced much warmth from being held in a loving way, will often become insecure. We really need this basic confirmation in order to know that we are loved and accepted. Words do not mean much to a baby. It is of no value to say that you love a baby if you do not touch it. The same is true in a marriage. You cannot say to your wife or husband: “I love you, but I do not want to touch you.” The words are not in correspondence with the deeds. I do not mean that you always should be ready to have a sexual relationship, but there are many other ways of being close.
You might have heard about a book describing the five love languages. I often ask people about what means the most to them. What makes them most happy? Some people prefer to spend time with those they love the most. Others might want gifts. Physical contact might be the love language of quite a few people, but not everybody. I know people that appreciate encouraging words more than anything else and others want to be served. I am sure that there are other love languages, but these are some. This has to do with communication. When you live in a family or with close friends, it is very useful to know what they appreciate. I have a friend and she is very fond of flowers and it is fun to buy her flowers since she becomes so happy. Once in India I bought a big bucket of flowers for a family. They threw the flowers into a corner without putting them in water. I never bought them flowers again. This might have been due to cultural differences and I decided not to become wounded.
When I am in other countries, I try to learn as much as possible about their culture. I do not want to hurt people, but make them happy. In order to make them happy, I have to know what makes them satisfied. This information can sometimes be vital. I will share a tragic, but also comical story with you. Some Indian friends of mine came to Sweden. When an Indian offer you something, you are supposed to say no thank you at least twice. These friends of mine were on a tour together with some Swedes and my friends were very hungry. When they stopped, they were asked what they would like to eat and the Swedes would both buy them the food and pay for it. My friends answered as good Indians: “No thanks, nothing.” The Swedes accepted the answer and went and bought themselves a good meal while my hungry friends watched them eat. The Swedes might have thought that the Indians were fasting. Do you see how important it is to learn about each other’s customs?
When you are married, it is important to know what your partner value as important. Maybe the husband comes with flowers to his wife every weekend, but he is sitting in front of TV and later he reads the newspaper. Maybe he gets sore since she doesn’t appreciate his flowers because she would like to spend time with him. He is disappointed and thinks that she is ungrateful and she is disappointed since he does not give her more of himself and his time. Such conflicts can be growing and spreading to other areas and the end result can become a divorce. Many couples have problems since they do not understand each other’s needs and they do not understand why the other part reacts negatively. I have many times heard these words: “I did not know that this meant so much to you or I thought you were nasty, but now I understand that you were sorry.” “Had I known that I hurt you by my words, I wouldn’t have said them.” “If I had known……..” This last sentence is often repeated in counseling. Many have misunderstood each other for years. They think negatively about each other and the enemy is very clever in encouraging the negative thoughts and emotions. He knows that we human are vulnerable and he knows exactly how to hurt each person the most. It is very effective and smart to use your spouse to throw arrows at you. The devil loves to destroy as many marriages as possible and he is even more interested if they are serving the Lord. The devil knows the Bible and knows that it says that one takes a thousand, but two take ten thousands. One of the things that happen when you get hurt is self-pity and your energy circles around defending yourself. There will be less time for Bible reading and prayers. Hurting couples might easily forget the Word that says that the sun should not go down on your wrath.(Eph.4:26) When you are angry or bitter, it is not so easy to unite in prayers. As Christian you must never forget that you have a spirit that is born again and that spirit is perfect because it is born by God and He is perfect. It says in the Bible that we should know each other by the spirit and I remind couples of the fact that they have a perfect part that should be their source of living. What about forgiveness and reconciliation? Many say that they can forgive one thing, but not a pattern. Do I have an advice for those of you who are suffering in your marriage? Go to a Christian counselor and start praying together.
LISTEN TO THE LORD AND TO EACH OTHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!