This last week I had the privilege of being part of a mini mission conference, learning with and from my colleagues. A real blessing and encouragement. During one of the breakout sessions we were discussing communication and honesty, and how difficult it can be. One of the missionaries was giving us an example of how some people can be. They pride themselves of being honest, and go even to the point of saying, “I say it like I see it.”
When we say it like we see it, we can also be quite off. What happens if we see everything from a negative viewpoint? Then everything we say comes out with that negative slant. It might sometimes be the truth, even can be most of the time…but does that mean it is really the right thing to say? What happens to the one listening to this “honesty”? Does it bring them down? Does it cause them to start seeing things from the negative point of view? What happens to their perception of us in the long run? Do they avoid us? Do they think of us as a negative person, even a negative influence?
Communication is a tricky thing. We say and hear things from our own slant all the time. Because of this, we tend to dismiss what others have to say. They don’t see it from our point of view, must be wrong. How do we then communicate what we want them to hear? Do we shut down and mutter under our breath, or say it like it really is?
What if our “honesty” isn’t always the best policy? Sometimes it is good to put ourselves in the place of the other person. Take a breath before opening the mouth, and listen to the comment internally before letting it out…can’t take it back once it’s there.
I want to be more accountable in this. What I say is a reflection of the condition of my heart. What I say shows what I am made of…is it bitterness or love? A few questions to ask myself before I open my mouth…
Is it constructive? Does it build instead of tear down?
Is it helpful and positive?
Will it make the listener think, or cringe?
Does it bring glory to God?