To have a good relationship with someone, you must have good communication. And good communication is based on two things: talking, and listening. Stop and consider some of your recent conflicts and try to identify behaviours and attitudes that may have contributed to them. Fear. Insecurity. Jealousy. Stubbornness. Arrogance. Greed. Sin. Rebellion. Unexpressed or unmet expectations. Unrealistic expectations. Undefined roles and responsibilities. Differing standards, beliefs, philosophies, or views. Competing desires. Ineffective systems and processes. Power struggles. Contradictory goals and objectives. Breach of boundaries (spoken or unspoken). Inadequate or sparse resources (time, money, space). Language barriers. Lack of information. Lack of understanding of the needs of different personalities. Poor relational skills.
James writes, ‘So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak.’ This Bible verse is crucial to good communication. By listening, we create an atmosphere where people feel they have been understood and their views and feelings have been validated. This is half the battle in settling any conflict. And listening is not passive! It requires considerable effort to discern what’s really being expressed or even unexpressed. But there is good news: if you’re serious about it, God will help you to become a better listener!
Isaiah writes: ‘The Lord God has given Me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. He awakens Me morning by morning. He awakens My ear to hear as the learned.’ (Isaiah 50:4 NKJV) Note the words ‘tongue’ and ‘ear’, and ask God to help you with both.