Sunday, June 01, 2008

Communication matters

My small group curriculum for this week is all about the importance of good and godly communication.

Big Idea:
Sticks and stones may break my bones and words can REALLY hurt me. What we say and how we say it matters greatly, and good communication is essential to good relationships.

Good communication is a vital component of healthy marriages and other relationships, while bad communication is a relationship killer. The Bible indicates that communication skills are key to Christian discipleship. We are called to submit all areas of our lives to God - especially how we speak and communicate with one another. Selfishness and pride are huge barriers to wholesome communication. The prideful always want to be right, and the selfish always want their way. Both frequently use words to accomplish their impure motives. However, the communication between two people who have surrendered their lives to Christ and have humbled themselves will be gracious, polite, and encouraging instead of destructive.

We must remember that good communication doesn’t just involve talking at someone, but also planning our words, listening, and encouraging. (1) Plan your words before you say them. Solomon said in Proverbs 16:23, "Intelligent people think before they speak." That means you don't wing-it and throw words around carelessly. (2) Be a good listener. "He who answers before listening - this is his folly and shame" Proverbs 18:13. Remember, we listen with our ears, but also with our eyes. Body language speaks volumes. If you’re like me, you like talking much more than listening, but a good communicator will seek to understand and then to be understood. (3) Any fool can be a critic, but the wise will lead with encouragement. Paul tells the Christians in Thessalonica to, “Encourage one another and build each other up.” Try to begin and end all communication by building up, not tearing down. Bottom line: If we love one another, it will show itself in how we communicate.

Discussion Questions: (read the Scripture & discuss)

James 3:5-12
Why is taming the tongue (what we say) so important? James says that fresh and salt water can’t both flow from the same spring; discuss how this relates to our communication.

Proverbs 15:1-7
How do these passages expose the importance of our words? Discuss differences between good and bad communication.

Luke 6:45
Why should it deeply concern you when you speak harsh and abrasive words to others? What kind of change must take place in order for our communication to sincerely improve?

Taking Action: Make it a point this week to plan your words carefully and to listen to others before speaking. Also, go out of your way to be an encourager and build others up with your words. Make note of the results and share it with the group next week.

Ministry Time

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