You might recall that I announced some time ago that a good friend was hospitalized, struggling with serious diabetes. Three years ago he suffered a stroke due to this disease which caused blindness for about a year. This present period of hospitalization lasted 12 weeks. Sadly, he succumbed to a diabetic coma last night. Please pray for his mom, his brother and his daughter in their bereavement.
His mom showed me a video clip that one of the sisters in ICU made for the family as no one could visit him. In the video you see him connected to all the pipes and cables, unable to talk. The sister asks him questions and he responded using his style of sign language. She asks him if he loves his daughter. He pointed his finger to his eye for “I”, then pressed his hand against his chest/heart for “love”, followed by him pointing his finger towards the camera for “you”. This was his way of saying to his daughter “I love you.” The sister asked him if all was going well. He responded by giving the thumbs up with both hands. To another question he nodded his head. What struck me particularly was his ability to communicate, even though he could not talk.
Communication is a vital aspect of our daily lives though often we find it the most difficult thing to do. This is why Gary’s self-styled sign language impressed me so much. He could not communicate verbally so he, even in his illness, signed and was so easily understood. In preparing a couple for marriage, we dealt with the topic Communication and Problem Solving tonight. In it we deal with “why we communicate” and apart from stimulating each other and making each other feel good, we communicate to make ourselves known and get to know the other person. From a Biblical perspective we communicate because God tells us to communicate for without talking to each other there will be no problem solving.
Within three verses we see three directives regarding communication:
Eph 4:25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.
The very first is to tell the truth … no lies, no fabrication and no half-truths. We cannot communicate if we tell lies or make up stories and slip a little truth in here and there. The second is to keep up to date. If there is a problem, talk it through immediately because if you don’t you leave that problem to fester and grow so that when another issues arises, there is an explosion! The third comes up in verse 27. The real problem is the devil and his influence in the matter at hand. He must be dealt with through prayer and faith otherwise he will be the constant thorn provoking the relationship’s health. It is important to remind yourself of why you are in a relationship, especially if you are married. You love each other and because you love you are able to forgive. Forgiving must be based upon:
Mt 6:14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Refusal to forgive means you yourself agree not to be forgiven by God for your sins. One of the most difficult things to do in a relationship (such as marriage or business) is to admit that there is a problem … and worse is to admit that I am the problem (the guilty one). The reason for this is that too often people ignore the problem. That is they won’t accept there is a problem and if they won’t accept that there is a problem in the relationship … there is no problem … (to that person). Then there are those who behave like an ostrich. The problem is there and they “bury their head in a hole”, thinking, “If I can’t see the problem there is no problem.”
When I opened the sliding gate to allow the couple doing pre-marital counsel to drive out, I saw a hefty stream of water gushing down the road. I followed it to see where it came from. My neighbor was watering his lawns and the sprinkler heads on the pavement were not working. Water just flowed out of three points. Fortunately he was in his yard. I told him about the water gushing down the road. His response was: “That is why the water pressure inside is so weak.” When there are relational problems, be it in marriage, at work or amongst friends, the smart thing to do is to admit the problem and communicate to problem solves. Otherwise all the love, confidence, commitment and faithfulness built up and accumulated over months and years will gush out and flow away so that tenderness and sensitivity and love cannot be expressed … just like the water flowed down the road and did not water the lawn on the pavement.
Some people kill their relationship because they either want to keep the peace at all costs and say they are in the wrong or they fight to the bitter end to gain the win. Then, so often we hear people saying they need to compromise to settle a dispute in marriage. Why do this? Compromise means the relationship gain is 50% and the individual’s gain is 50%. Who wants that? Rather the aim ought to be the win/win achievement. This is where the relationship scores 100% and the individual scores 100%. This is the best result and can only be achieved through honesty, forgiveness, love and prayer. Before attempting to settle a dispute, prayer that seeks Godly wisdom and holy solutions is vital. When Jesus is Lord, seated on the Throne, all problems have the potential of a positive settlement with a win/win achievement.
Dear God, You are the Great Communicator. You speak through creation and You speak through Your Word. Help me to learn the art of communicating that glories You, helping me to reflect Jesus in all speech. Amen.