I remember when I was doing some extra training in Biblical Counseling doing a session on communication. This morning I decided to look up that session, because I knew for sure I had remembered a series on the four rules of communication. Sure enough, in the middle of my binder, there they were. I wanted to post these and some notes that we took during the class, hoping it would encourage you as well as help you grow in an area where many of us struggle at some point in each of our relationships. Randy Patten was the course instructor, so there notes come from a handout he gave us.
These come from Ephesians 4:25-32.
1. BE HONEST — Speak the truth lovingly. (vs.25)
- Speak: You must use verbal communication
- Speak Truth: Be honest in verbal communication: avoid lying and deceit, in-congruency (saying one things while acting another), and disguised communication (saying one thing to point to another thing – under the table communication)
- Speak Truth Lovingly: Saying what needs to be said with the other person’s needs in mind
2. KEEP CURRENT (vs.26-27)
- Anger is energy to be used in solving problems
- Anger used unbiblically attacks others or oneself.
- Failure to solve today’s problems today means you are: 1) Guilty of sin 2) Opening the door to resentment and hatred 3) Endangering your sexual relationship (in marriage) 4) Setting the stage for future problems to be distorted.
3. ATTACK PROBLEMS, NOT PEOPLE (vs.29-30)
- Unwholesome words attack character, bypass the real issue and grieve the Holy Spirit
- Edifying communication encourages, builds up, centers on personal responsibility and gives grace to those who hear it.
- Focus on unbiblical thinking and behavior
- Seek to understand goals and motives
- Unwholesome: destructive, misunderstanding, persecutor, salvos, creates problems
- Edifying: constructive, understanding, pal, solutions, solves problems
4. ACT! DON’T REACT (vs.31-32)
- Typical reactions of our flesh not getting what it wants are:
- Bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander, malice
- Attitudes and Actions you must put on to replace the reactions:
- Kindness, tenderheartedness, forgiveness
- Put off and then put on
I hope this encourages you and at least gives you a pause to think through how you communicate with people. Think about some good experiences and then some bad experiences. What was missing from these rules in the bad? How were each of these touched in the good?