Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29 RSV)
Communication is often difficult for each person to hear/see what we are communicating. The right words, the right pauses and pictures can bring people closer to Christ. Here are some thoughts:
- Words take on a life of their own. God spoke the world into existence! The Hebrew understanding was spoken words could not be taken back. They took on a life of their own. (Genesis 27 makes it very clear. Once you have spoken the words, you cannot take them back.) We need to help class members realize the power of their words in class and outside of class. One false word, rumor, gossip can destroy a class. One encouraging word can help people soar!
Sometimes we are called to share a word of discipline. Make sure that your motivation is to help them grow in Christ! I had many in my lifetime shares words that I needed to hear. Some did it out of love, and some out of other motives.
15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. (Ephesians 4:15 NIV)
- Written words can be just as damaging or uplifting! Be careful what you tweet, post on Facebook and more. I am so discouraged by Christians who post hateful, angry words to villainize others over political, social and even athletic opinions. Do we realize that we just put politics, social issues and sports above all of us “being in the image of God”? We can disagree respectfully and speak the truth in love. Please pray and think about what to say before you hit send or post!
I stay away from negativity, and try to send a positive quote, Scripture or thought each day on Facebook. It is a way of helping people think about the good things:
4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:4-9 NIV)
- Pauses matter in Sunday School/Small Groups and in life. Reflective learners learn best with silence. Give moments of silence for these persons to think through the Scripture and life application before they have to respond. I am an introvert. Though I speak to large groups, I need time to reflect and think about what God is doing in this situation- whether it is training teachers, preaching or Sabbath time for me each day. I need alone time to pray and reflect. What are you doing to help people do the same?
- Pictures are worth a thousand words! I learned that phrase early on, and it is true! Pictures and videos will increase retention levels on what you are learning. Use pictures and videos as a part of Bible study. Let me give one example. Knowing your why is more important than what you do. Check out the link: https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=michael+jr+know+your+why&view=detail&mid=E95A885D6C9F09E94C1DE95A885D6C9F09E94C1D&FORM=VIRE
When we understand the value of communication through words, pauses and pictures, your class will be transformed!