The skill of communication and effectively resolving conflicts – in marriage, business, or any relationship – is paramount to successful living. From the beginning, communication has been presented as THE component in healthy relationships. God first communicated to us – condescending and transcending Himself into our world – illustrating the critical nature of communication. He did so both generally and specifically, that we might know Him and be known by Him. This is also the goal of every relationship we have – in varying degrees – especially in marriage.
The Wisdom of Paul
In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus, he gives us an outline for effective communication. It is important to realize that communication skills can be learned if one desires them. These skills are to be cultivated, practiced, and exercised. Interestingly enough, God has instituted marriage for precisely this reason, that we might develop holiness.
Paul instructs us, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, on four rules for biblical (i.e. Christian) communication. He emphasizes the importance of recognizing our personal responsibility in developing these skills. In Ephesians 4:22-24, Paul makes it clear that although we have been supernaturally regenerated through our faith in Christ, it remains our responsibility to “put off” our old way of living and “put on” Christian character. This is the process of sanctification and growing in holy living. (See the series of podcasts on this subject – Episodes #50-#55)
4 Rules of Communication & Conflict Resolution
First Rule – Be Honest
Second Rule – Keep Current
Third Rule – Attack the Problem, Not the Person
Fourth Rule – Be Proactive, Not Reactive
Walking through Ephesians 4:17-32, we can see how God expects us to treat one another and communicate effectively. By taking responsibility for ourselves and replacing old habits with new, we effectively transform our lives into the ones originally designed for us. Being honest, speaking truth in love, resolving conflict quickly, focusing on solutions, and being proactive is not necessarily easy. But it is worth every effort we make. Why? Because (a) it draws us closer to each other and (b) makes us more like Jesus.