“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.”
— Ephesians 4:29
Of all the contributing factors that make our homes happy, good communication must be high on the list.
As we relate to people, we communicate on many levels—everything from “Hi, how are you?” to divulging facts, expressing emotions, and ultimately sharing our true selves. To make a home run smoothly, we need communication on all levels, but especially on that most intimate level of revealing ourselves to our housemates and families.
But that kind of communication can feel threatening. Sharing at the deepest, most intimate level makes us vulnerable, and many people don’t want to risk rejection. But as these people stay on “safer” levels of communication, they never discover the real glory of intimacy.
People avoid intimate conversation not only because they fear rejection but also because they have built up resentment against people who have hurt them in the past. As they refuse to forgive and as they continue to keep records of wrongs, these people maintain barriers between themselves and others. While they may feel safer that way, these people miss the joy of reconciliation and better understanding. We must express tenderheartedness and forgiveness toward one another as God, for Christ’s sake, has forgiven us. If we don’t let go of our anger, we will clam up or blow up. “In your anger, do not sin,” and “Let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” These admonitions from Ephesians can help us forgive others and let go of pent-up resentment.
We also need to avoid faultfinding and blame. If we negatively evaluate someone, that person will not risk any deep communication, and we’ll experience isolation. Instead of focusing on the negative things, focus on the good in the people you care about. When we start focusing on the positive, the positive will increase, and we will “administer grace” to each other.
What are some ways you can foster deeper communication in your home today? Do you need to share yourself on a deeper level, to forgive someone, to refrain from harshly judging others? Take a risk today, and see how those you live with respond as you pursue intimate communication and relationships.