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Pastor of Morrow Presbyterian Church
John V. Callahan Jr.
The Pastor’s Pen
Read Deuteronomy 32:11-12 and Hebrews 12:3-11
The way we communicate is more complex than we might think. Believe it or not, only 7 percent of what we say are words. Words are important, but if we just rely on them, we do not get all of what somebody is telling us. So, 38 percent of all effective communication involves the way we say those words, such as a raised or lowered voice, speaking quickly or slowly; and 55 percent involves our nonverbal communication such as body language and facial expressions.
So, let’s try this. If I were to say, “Today is an awful day,” would you know what my mood is through the words only? Am I serious or am I joking? Am I really upset or am I just being sarcastic? You cannot tell, if you are unable to read my body language or listening to my tone of voice.
Let’s try this: “I WANT YOU TO GO TO THE STORE RIGHT NOW!” Those words probably grabbed your attention before you started reading from the top of the article. Capitalized letters and an exclamation point suggest to us urgency, but you cannot tell if I am angry that you haven’t gone to the store yet or I am trying to get you to do something that I think is a priority. Communication needs more than just words. We should talk to each other clearly, so we need every element, all 100%, to be used.
If you haven’t figured it out, the best way to communicate is face-to-face. If we want to understand each other, we need to be in the same room where we can hear the tone of voice and see the body language along with the words. When important things need to be discussed, there is no other way.
We cannot rely on texting or emails to express ourselves, because we only get the words. We miss out on the other 93%. Facebook is a TERRIBLE way (note the emphasis) to communicate one’s frustrations. It should NOT be (emphasis again) a place that a person goes to express a disappointment about something that happened. There is no proper resolution to the issue, and so it goes unresolved and the person remains frustrated.
“[Let] us consider how to spur one another on to love and good deeds. Let us not neglectmeeting together,assomehave made a habit,butlet us encourage one another,andallthe moreasyou seetheDay approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25). God built us for community, and that comes through face-to-face communication. Whether we are frustrated with or appreciative of somebody, there is no other way to communicate other than sharing the same space and looking at each other. Whether we are simply saying “Hello, What’s up?” or we are hoping to spend an hour catching up, we must be able to see the ways the eyes and mouth move, to listen to the excitement or alarm in the voice, and to feel that deeper connection with the other person.
Thanksgiving is one of those excellent times to reach out to others. Find out how other family members are doing, tell the story of your life over the last few months, and connect with those you love. You may discover something about a brother or sister or uncle or aunt that you did not know before, and then you are better informed. You have a better chance of sympathizing for them and caring for them. You now have somebody for which to pray.
So, THINK about how we TALK with others. DO NOT HIDE behind technology. GET OUT THERE! Use ALL the communication skills that GOD has GIVEN us. (There, was I able to communicate that well?)
Peace in Christ,
Rev. Dr. John
Lead Article by Derek J. Morris, Ministry magazine, September 2017, “Effective Sermon Delivery,” 6.