And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them - Genesis 11-6 ESV
I grew up in one of the larger cities in the state of South Carolina. My wife grew up in a farming community in west central Illinois.
To say that we were different would be an understatement. By the way, did I mention that we come from 2 different ethnic backgrounds? In other words, she is white and I am black.
There were times early in our relationship where we would be talking with one another and I would use a term that I was familiar with growing up. She would give me a look of utter confusion and I would have to explain it to her.
I then discovered something that made both of our lives easier. There is an online resource called the "Urban Dictionary." The Urban Dictionary gave the definition of the word in addition to using it in a sentence (be forewarned, they are some pretty graphic descriptions contained within the website).
After reviewing and understanding some of the terms that I used, she was able to communicate more effectively with me. Of course, there were figures of speech that she used that also had me scratching my head and she would have to explain them to me.
Surprisingly enough, after more than 15 years of marriage, we now incorporate figures of speech from both of our backgrounds during our conversations with one another. As a result, we are able to have more productive conversations.
My brothers, how is your conversation with your family and friends? Do you speak the same language? Are you communicating more effectively with each other on a consistent basis?
If not, what can you do have more fruitful communication?
One great starting point (and one that's worked for us) is to make an honest attempt to understand each other. If you observe that what you are saying doesn't resonate with the person you're trying to communicate with, make a good faith effort to explain it in a more effective manner.
What is the benefit of engaging in this exercise to better understand each other?
An examination of today's scripture provides insight of the power of speaking the same language. The people assembled in the plains of Shinar and formed an organized society, and began to establish the foundations of one universal empire. Their power was augmented by their ability to communicate their sentiments and designs easily and freely in a language universally intelligible.
Ultimately, the power that was derived from their ability to communicate with one another was channeled in a negative fashion (pride and glory that led to start of construction of the tower of Babel). As a result, God "came" down and confused their speech and threw their efforts into chaos. Even though the people of Shinar fell victim to pride and glory, the result of speaking the same language cannot be overstated.
Resolve today to begin the process of speaking the same language with those in your circle of influence. You will be surprised and pleased with the result.
I would love to hear from you about your efforts to speak the same language with others. Please comment below.
For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you - John 13:15 ESV
This week we had some really inclement weather here in northern Kentucky. One morning, the storms in the area were really nasty. The tornado sirens went off and the buses had to pull over and the occupants needed to take cover.
School eventually was cancelled to my sons delight. Now they had a free day to do whatever they pleased.
My wife and I did not have that luxury. She was in the office working (she gets to work from home) and I was getting started with my day. Abbey then calls me into the office to voice some frustration that she is having in regard to work.
I listened patiently to her as she talked about the item that had her frustrated. After she finished, I left the office and noticed that my youngest son Connor was eating breakfast in the kitchen.
He has this look on his face (for those of you that know Connor, he has a number of looks that you have to decipher). I came into the kitchen and asked him what he was thinking.
He looked at me and said that "I was observing how you listened to Mom when she was having problems." I sat down at the table and he continued with "I get to learn from the best and hope that I will do that with my wife."
I was humbled and blown away by his comments. By no means am I writing this post to "puff myself up". I, like a number of people, struggle with slowing down and listening to others because I tend to focus on "my" problems. My brothers, I am posting this to show that you never know who in your sphere of influence is watching your actions.
We always have the opportunity to influence those around us either in a positive or negative fashion. Connor provided a reminder to me that my behavior is always on display for others to observe. As one that follows Christ, we are called to be a light in the world.
We are to let that light shine to those that may not believe and assist them in coming out of the darkness. We do that by following the example that the scripture above is referencing. Christ has provided the blueprint that we can follow.
So resolve to teach by example. Fix your eyes on Jesus who is the ultimate role model.
I would love to hear your feedback on being a role model. Please comment below.
Ken Sadler is a leader of Men's Ministry at a megachurch and has a heart and passion for helping men become the best they can be.