Last month, I wrote about the 4 Rules of Communication. Observing them can improve communication within your faith community, but roadblocks can still pop up from time to time. They hinder relationships and limit community building. Watch out for these four behaviors in your communication.
Silent treatment—Refusing to talk is not a healthy communication solution. It slows repairs, and often allows wounds to fester rather than heal.
Crying—It’s no sin to let your emotions show. But generating tears to manipulate another person is dishonest. And dishonesty is sin. You cannot assume that you know what another person’s response will be. You cannot stage the conversation in your mind, and act based on its imagined outcome. Those things are both counterproductive and sinful.
Threatening an explosion—Sometimes we get angry. When that happens, it’s wise to stop and regain our composure. But this should not become a way to avoid discussion of hard issues. It can sound like: “I can’t talk about this anymore; it’s making me too angry.”
Bottom lining—Dictating your opinion as absolute truth is quite prideful, yet many of us do it in moments full of emotional stress. We disregard all advice, regardless of its source and no matter how wise it may be. This can sound like: “All I have to say is . . .” “I don’t care what you say . . .” “. . . and that’s final.”
Community building is hard and sometimes messy. We step on each other’s feelings instead of loving and supporting one another. When problems come, don’t let these four behaviors make matters worse. When conflict does come, the four rules of communication will help keep our conflicts healthy.
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