Communication 101

“Whoever restrains his words has knowledge” (Proverbs 17:27)

There she stood on the side of my hospital bed.  A twenty something student nurse, barely wet behind the ears so to speak.  The RN had sent her to my room to see if I needed any assistance getting settled in for the night.  She looked down at me with a rather odd expression on her face, and this is what she said (trust me, I could not make this up.)  “Now, I’m not being mean, but you’re an old lady.  How come your skin is so nice?”  I honestly did appreciate the compliment.  What I didn’t appreciate was the path she took to get there.  Out of the mouth of babes! 

Someone has said that communication works for those who work at it.  Obviously, my little student nurse had been playing hooky instead of attending her communication class at nursing school.  We all need to work on the way we communicate with one another.  We need to learn the art of knowing when to speak and when to keep quiet.

Both Old and New Testament saints had difficulty communicating.  Moses confessed his lack of eloquence.  The apostle Peter was a poor communicator because he spent most of the time with his foot stuck in his mouth.  But then there was Jesus.  No one had better communication skills than Jesus Christ did.  During the Festival of the Tabernacles, recorded in John 7, Jesus went up to the temple courts and began to teach.  The Jews were so amazed at the way he communicated that they asked, “How did this man get such learning without having been taught?”  Jesus’ response to the people’s amazement at his ability to communicate was to tell them that what he said did not come from him, but from the One who sent him.  Jesus knew how to listen and yield to the wisdom of his Father.

We pray for God to lead us, as well as to provide what we need or want; but are we sensitive in our prayers to ask God daily to put his words into our mouth?  Are we working at yielding to God’s Spirit and allowing him to fill us with what he wants us to speak to others?  Or do we just blurt out whatever comes popping into our minds, and then regret it later?  Some might say, “well, I speak my mind.”  That may be true, but it may also be true that we need to be more careful what we fill our minds with.

I wish Jesus would teach a course on how to communicate in a way that honors him.  He could call the class Communication 101.  Personally, I know a certain little student nurse that I would enroll in it.