Four Rules of Communication: Be Honest

Faith Church May 29, 2010 Ephesians 4:22-32

Introduction:
1. We are continuing our series: “Taking the NEXT Step With Joy: In Our Marriages & Families”
2. So far we’ve studied some very important issues:
•    Basics of Marriage (5 weeks)
•    Husband’s Role: (4 weeks)
•    Wife’s Role (4 weeks – should have been 10) - ☺
3.  Last week, we introduced our NEW subject in “Taking the NEXT Step” – i.e. in our COMMUNICATION in our marriages & families (which impact the church)
4. In some ways, maybe this should have been the FIRST subject we dealt with since this particular subject impacts EVERY other subject we’ve already studied!
5. I’d like to begin by asking you this question:
Q:  Have you ever considered that fact that God could have chosen a multitude of ways for us to communicate with Him and with each other?  
- Instead, * God chose the primary means of communication to be the use of words!  
- God spoke the world into existence (Genesis 1: “And God said . . .”).  
>  After creating Adam and Eve, the Scriptures tell us, “And God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth . . .’” (Genesis 1:28).
6.  While words are important (and a larger percentage of our communication), Words alone are not sufficient for effective biblical communication.  
- In fact, God instructs us to not let words be our ONLY source of communication.  
Example: Consider 1 John 3:18 “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.”  
- Our words must be backed up by actions.  
- Remember the old saying, “Your actions speak so loudly that I can’t hear what you are saying.”
> There is a lot of truth in this statement!
7.  However, We cannot show love with actions alone because God tells us hundreds of times in the Bible that He loves us.  
-  So, we should not only do things to communicate our love for others, we must also grow in telling others that we love them . . .
> . . . and use well chosen words to communicate and solve problems and/or prevent them.
“Communication is fundamental to a Christ-centered home because it is the means by which a husband-wife relationship and parent-child relationship is established, grows, and is maintained.  Apart from the open channels of truthful communication that Paul discusses (in Ephesians 4) . . . there can be no truly Christ-centered home.” Adams, Christian Living in the Home
8.  Communication is a key to building relationships, strong marriages, families, and strong churches
-  While some communicate better than others, we all must be growing in the area of communication – in both words and actions.
9.  If you stop and think about it, The area of communication is where most of our problems originate! (i.e. begin to become evident)
Note: All problems begin in the heart of the person or persons involved in the problem
10.  Many times problems occur because one person doesn’t understand the other
> that may be due to a failure to listen to the one speaking
> or a failure to get all the facts by asking questions and clarifying issues.
11.  Many times problems occur because 1 person doesn’t clearly articulate his/her position very well
> as a result, the other person gets confused or it leads to that person misunderstanding the other because the “waters are muddy.”
>  Either way, you have a communication problem:  
⇨    one has to do with listening, the other with speaking – but the outcome is basically the same
Examples of what we’re talking about:
PIC #1 [PPT] – get the memo
PIC #2 [PPT] – the brick wall!
12.  Last wk we studied * Three powers the tongue has concerning relationships: [PowerPoint only]
1:  The Power to Direct Relationships
2:  The Power to Destroy Relationships
3:  The Power to Delight Relationships
13. Let’s begin our study this morning by clarifying a working definition of . . .
* Effective Communication:.
“The process of sharing information with another person in such a way that the sender’s message is understood as he intended it. Unless the sender and receiver have come to a common meaning, they haven’t communicated effectively.”  Wayne Mack, Your Family God’s Way
[Please open your Bible to Ephesians 4:22-32 – we’ll read this shortly]
14. With the theme of “Taking the NEXT Step,” we thought it was very important to spend the whole year on MARRIAGE and the FAMILY
-  I found out in a counseling session that a couple who had been here for 15 years had NEVER heard the specific teaching on the subject we’ve studied this year:
> Basics of Marriage / Husband’s Role / Wife’s Role . . . and the 4 Rules of Communication!
15. Our pastors refer to these often (and we teach the 4 Rules in our counseling training, and we use them in the counseling process)
>  but many people have never heard them, so . . . we’re doing the study today on this subject!
* Resources:  Recommend the following books for further study: (Ministry Resource Center)
•    War of Words – Paul Tripp
•    Your Family God’s Way – Wayne Mack
16. In Eph. 4, Paul writes about how to grow and change by replacing the ‘old self’ (thoughts & actions) with the ‘new self’ (biblical thoughts and biblical actions)
17. Paul illustrates this in the following verses (v. 25-32) and in these examples of the ‘put off’ and ‘put on’ – the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write 4 very effective “Rules of Communication”
> these are good for PREVENTING and SOLVING problems (in church, families, marriage, and friendships!)
[READ Eph. 4:25-32- skip v. 28 – though it is included in the context of v. 22-24]
- Let’s begin with . . .
Rule #1:  BE HONEST - v. 25.
- What is Paul instructing us to do?
> under divine inspiration, he is instructing the church to communicate
- Notice the principle of replacement!
* We should not just put off lying, but speak the truth.
-    People don’t change just because they STOP something – the sinful habit of thinking or action needs to be replaced!
- we also need to realize . . .
A.  This is a command. - "You speak!"
- you can’t say, “Wel,l I don’t like that command, therefore . . . “
- you can’t say, “I don’t FEEL like doing that!”
- one of the problems in conflicts is when someone DISOBEYS this command!
- God modeled communication all the way back in Genesis 1-2
> of course, when Adam sinned, the communication line with God got “CUT” – that’s why Adam went and hid in the bushes – he didn’t want to SPEAK
- for the believer (as a creature created by the Creator) . . .
* Clamming up is not an option for the Christian!
-    by clamming up we mean the refusal to discuss a problem or an attempt to resolve it
- evading, avoiding, manipulating do not solve problems (in fact, they make it worse)
Q: Why is it important for us to communicate honestly with others?
[READ 1 Cor. 2:11]
•    1 Corinthians 2:11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.
Answer:  Because people cannot read your mind.
- there may be patterns of behavior/responses that a person might anticipate (but that anticipation can be wrong) so you need to communicate!
- here’s another thing to consider:
[PIC # 3 [PPT] – this illustrates the way some people handle problems!]
B.  Honesty is more than not lying.
- Honesty is telling the truth
* Honestly includes giving the following:
•    Facts about the situation
•    Reality of the circumstances
•    Being open about it (i.e. willing to discuss these details, consequences, etc.)
Note:  This what we, humanly speaking, could call “FULL DISCLOSURE”
- there’s nothing to hide – just put it all on the table
ILL:  Pastor Viars practices this with the truth and the church philosophy

- this does not contradict the truth about a ‘fool uttering ALL his mind’
> sometimes you don’t need to discuss every microscopic detail
Example: That could lead to more anger, bitterness, revenge – like discussing every minute detail of an act of adultery!
> but the truth and facts a/b the situation need to be handled biblically to glorify God and bring about RESTITUTION of the relationship!
- that’s why Paul gives the ‘put on’ side of communication
C.  Put On: speaking the truth in love!
➢    Ephesians 4:15 but speaking the truth in love . . .
[Note: How to speak the truth is in Rule #3 (Eph 4:15 & 29) and in the "Six Questions" – we’ll give you a copy of those later]
- We are commanded to SPEAK (to communicate) . . . to speak the TRUTH
> this is NOT telling everyone ALL your thoughts, opinions, & criticisms.
Q: What would happen if you told someone EVERYTHING you were thinking?
- possible answer: You would be dead!
Lesson: God was wise to keep us from being able to read each other’s minds!!
Point:  * The goal of speaking the truth is not you speaking your mind but solving conflicts in a way that brings glory to God.
> and to accomplish that, truth has to be on the table
- and not only to speak the truth, but speak the truth . . . . IN LOVE (that’s the hard part!)
Input: Why is it so hard to speak the truth in love? [various answers]
•    pride (this comes out when we have sinned and are defensive]
•    pride (this comes out when we have been sinned against & become judgmental and want to ‘get even’ even though we don’t have the authority or the ABILITY to do it)
•    Romans 12:19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY," says the Lord.
Q:  Why is it so easy to violate Col. 4:6?
•    Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.
- so many times, we do the OPPOSITE – we have our speech always with SALT and only seasoned with GRACE!
Point: Jesus wasn’t like that and neither should we!
> we should speak the truth IN LOVE
- another aspect of this truth we need to remember is:
B.  Dishonesty is not pleasing to God!
Q: What attribute of God would dishonesty attack?
A: His holiness
- dishonesty does not give the right opinion of God
>He is ‘honest’ (TOTALLY – COMPLETELY – He doesn’t even have the ability to be dishonest!)
Note: It’s interesting that Jesus is ‘the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6)
- Remember John 1:14 – Jesus was ‘full of grace AND truth’
•    John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
* Here are a few examples of dishonesty:
Important:  These are the exact OPPOSITE of the life of Christ and the example He set for us in the way we should communicate:
1.  Outright deceit (Includes exaggeration, embellish truth)
-  Sometimes done deliberately, sometimes the result of the passage of time, and it’s easy to do when you are the one ‘hurting’ or ‘offended’
2.  Over exaggeration (100 % words)
Examples:  You always / you never / every time this happens you . . .  or you can’t do anything right
Q: Are those really true?  
> maybe there are exceptions that you don’t know about or have forgotten!
3. Conflict between body language, tone of voice (halo data) and the content of what we say.
Example:  
Q: What’s wrong?  [a simple, honest question is asked of one spouse to the other]
Response:  person responds w/ . . . Nothing! (w/a sharp tone, rolling the eyes)
4.  Disguising the real message with innuendoes.
Ex: Back door messages
•    Husband tells his wife what a good cook somebody else is (because he doesn’t want to tell her the truth – that she’s really bad and he doesn’t like it)
•    Husband tells a dinner guest: “Eat hearty, we’re only 2 minutes from a trauma center.”
Conclusion:
Q: Are you honest?
Q: If you had to stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ today, what would Jesus say about your communication?
Q: Do you need to ask your spouse (or your kids) for forgiveness for NOT practicing Rule #1?
Prayer Time:
⇨    Husband – pray for the guys
⇨    Wife – pray for the girls
⇨    One person – pray for the marriages/families
 

Faith Church