During our current series, Speak Life, we’re learning all about how our words have the power to speak life, hope, joy, and love… Or sow fear, division, unrest, and conflict. Communication is about expressing our ideas, wishes, or desires to someone we love… but often, miscommunications occur and cause problems. See, it’s not just about what is SAID… It’s all about what is HEARD. I said this… You heard that!
As followers of Christ, how do you use your words to love other people? How do you really listen and hear what others are saying?
In Ephesians 4:29, Paul wrote this: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
In this verse, Paul flips the communication script: What if, instead of communicating according to your needs, you first took into account the needs of others and adapted your words accordingly? If we’re going to Speak Life, we need to learn how to put Ephesians 4:29 into practice!
I Said This, You Heard That
In Kathleen Edelman’s book “I Said This, You Heard That: How Wiring Colors Your Communication” we see there are 4 main temperaments for communication, which predispose each of us to speak and hear words in a certain way. Basically, everyone defaults to one of the below communication languages:
- YELLOW: Speaks the language of people and fun!
- RED: Speaks the language of power and control.
- BLUE: Speaks the language of perfection and order.
- GREEN: Speaks the language of calm and harmony.
Typically, the red and yellow temperaments are extroverts who speak before they think, have no filter, and are verbal processors who have to start talking to discover what they think or feel. The green and blue temperaments are typically interoverts, which means their thoughts and emotions go inward and they think before they speak. Also, those who are considered red or blue tend to be more task-oriented, and yellow and green temperaments prefer people over tasks. Knowing these temperaments, there are 3 Simple Keys that can help you use words that take the needs of other people into consideration:
#1) Your Temperament Determines The Words That You Speak
Whether you’re single, dating, engaged or married, we should be striving to use our words to build others up according to their needs! The more you understand the needs and temperaments of the ones you love, the more you can put Ephesians 4:29 into practice in your everyday life!
#2) Your Temperament Determines The Words That You Hear.
Every word and behavior is motivated by core needs… and those needs are temporarily filled, but never permanently satisfied. For example, if someone is a yellow temperament, they likely have an innate need for approval, acceptance, attention or affection. So, you can help build this person up by choosing words that affirm their God-given gifts and show they have been seen, acknowledged, and noticed.
#3) Every Word That You Use Is A Word That You Choose
Remember, the tongue holds the power of life and death. So, start taking a pause to think before you say a word… give grace to understand that the person you’re communicating with may be different from you… and celebrate the difference! Understanding the communication strengths and weaknesses of those around you helps you communicate with humility.
As a Christ follower, you choose the words you speak, and they’re supposed to be for the benefit of the other person. Let’s color our words according to the needs of our loved ones today!