How do we communicate our “true” self to others, while at the same time, create a safe environment where others can express themselves and experience the love of Christ? Henri Nouwen said: “To care means first of all to be present to each other. From experience you know that those who care for you become present to you. When they listen, they listen to you. When they speak, they speak to you. Their presence is a healing presence because they accept you on your terms. And they encourage you to take your own life seriously.” In this post I want to introduce the skill of healthy, biblical speaking (click here to read the previous posts in this series.)
Healthy, biblical speaking is a gift. It allows me to take responsibility for me to communicate who I am to others. It is also a skill. We need to learn how to do it. They way we speak, speaks volumes about how we respect ourselves and others being made in the image of God. Healthy, biblical speaking establishes and maintains clear healthy boundaries in relationship to oneself and others by speaking in the “I”. I think all of are guilty (some more than others) for speaking for other people. It happens in marriages/relationships all the time.
Here are some reasons to speak in the “I”:
- Gives me the most immediate access to what I’m thinking and feeling.
- Helps me own my feelings.
- I’m only an authority of my own thoughts and feelings.
- I don’t know it it’s really true that “we all feel like …” or “everyone thinks …”
- I don’t presume to know what you or anyone else “should” think or feel.
This is so tough to do but it is so essential that we do it.
Here are four essential criteria for healthy, biblical speaking:
- Be respectful (tactful): Take other people’s feelings into consideration before you speak.
- Be honest: Say what you are truly feeling or thinking. Don’t FUDGE the truth!
- Be clear: Think before you speak in order to speak well what you are going to say. Be specific.
- Be direct: Don’t beat around the bush.
On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best), how would you rate yourself in healthy, biblical speaking?