Saturday, January 10, 2015

With Heart and Words

Scripture Texts: Genesis 11:1-9; Psalms 19:1-4; Acts 2:1-21

Language is an amazing things. It is possible to be talking about the exact same thing as another person yet not use the same words. It is also possible to use the same exact words and not be talking about the same thing. Then there is the whole portion of communication that happens without words.

It seems that humans are nearly unstoppable when they begin to use language well. That is the story
we get from Genesis as the people of Babel use their common language to begin building a tower to the heavens. God becomes concerned about the ability that humanity has when it speaks the same language. This concern is not one of fear that people will become too powerful, rather the concern is that people will begin to think they can do it on their own and do not need God. They have the right ability with the wrong heart.

When we read the words of the Psalmist we find there are times when there is the right heart and words are not needed to be understood, "They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world."(v3-4)

Then we get to the story of Pentecost, at that moment the heart and mouth are working together, right heart and right words. God is then able to use the words of humanity to tell of the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Without communication it is impossible to cultivate a thriving marriage. We can use words to develop our own power and control over another person. There is also the opportunity to use our words to create something of beauty and grace that God can use to tell the Good News of redemption in Jesus Christ. Like with those who have gone before us the key is to have the right words and the right heart with those words. For our heart and words to match the work of the Holy Spirit is essential. It is through the Holy Spirit that our desires are made pure and our words are made true. When our hearts and words are working in concert through the Holy Spirit the words are often communicated without sound like noted in Psalms.

One of the tests of communication for our marriage is setting up for our family camping trips. For several years we owned a screen tent that was challenging to set up on a good day, nearly impossible on a day when we were not communicating well. Screen tent set up became a litmus test for how well we were doing with communication. If it was going poorly there was a large number of frustrated, or angry glances and almost grunts in the process, and the tent took three times as long to set up. If we were doing well, then we were able to laugh at ourselves and continue toward setting up the tent, usually in a normal amount of time. Everything about the tent was more challenging when we were not communicating well.

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