Every relationship has challenges in communicating clearly. How we speak and interact with our parents or children, with our family or neighbors, or with our husband or wife comes across in our tone of voice and in our body language, not just our words. Most people struggle with the most basic concepts of speaking and listening, especially when you throw in these other factors of the tone of voice and body language we use. As Paul writes to the Christians in Ephesus, we need to be renewed in the Spirit to walk and talk in the way God created us.
Yet we stumble daily. Thank the Lord, Christ has forgiven us our sins. But how does this mercy affect the way we speak to others? The Word of God from Ephesians 4:25-32 gives five ways to communicate, not just more clearly, but with the love of Christ!
Be Honest with each other and speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15, 25) It is easy to speak the truth, and to speak in a loving way. But try speaking both truthfully and lovingly at the same time! Pray for help (Psalm 40:10-13).
Be Angry at sin, but not the sinner—deal with your anger in a God pleasing way (Ephesians 4:26-27). There are times we become angry at sin in this world. But God says this does not give us an excuse to sin ourselves by hurting others with our words or actions (James 1:19-20).
Be diligent and work hard on your relationship (Ephesians 4:28). Trying to get something for nothing makes others do all the hard work. God says to prioritize your life around making the relationship work. Give maximum effort, not the minimum. Make sacrifices (1 Peter 4:11).
Be honest and don’t hurt others with your words (Ephesians 4:29-31). Words that are “unwholesome” or that are rotten and worthless will rot out a relationship. We tend to fall into bad habits of verbal digs and name calling with those we love the most. Rather, strive to build up rather than tear down (Proverbs 17:27-28)!
Be Forgiving and be the first to say “I’m sorry” (Ephesians 4:32). Sincere apologies are uncommonly heard, so they are just as challenging to give! Do you enjoy people who hold grudges or bitterness against you? How would you feel if your Heavenly Father did this to you? Stop worrying about who’s right and who’s wrong and make peace (Matthew 5:9; James 3:17-18).
If we were to go back and read Ephesians 4:25-32, what attitude would we see that God expects? We see Christ Jesus, our Lord and God, who communicates clearly to us in this same loving way. We pray we can communicate this way with others!