Saturday, August 1, 2009

Let's talk

What makes a conversation meaningful, or meaningless? I found myself pondering this question.

What makes us walk away feeling uplifted after conversing, and what leaves us with a bad feeling? When an exchange has been less than fulfilling, I sometimes feel as though I had been given a special gift that I squandered.

There are a few things in particular that make it go rotten.

-Laziness. You don't care enough to fully engage in the conversation. Or you know the conversation should end, but you are too lazy to cut it off.
-Selfishness. You want to take rather than give.
-Pride in arguing. There can be good kinds of discourse. But sometimes we cross the line into arguing for its own sake.
-Accusation/judgment. One person enters the conversation with intent to cast blame.
-Personality differences (or other causes of misunderstanding). This can't be controlled, but you can at least be aware.
-Malicious talk/rumors. You start out expressing "compassion" for a party not present, and it leads to gossip.
-Timidity. The conversation has gone in a bad direction, but you lack the boldness to redirect it.
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The Bible says, "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." -(Col. 4:6)

I think that this could be applied in different ways in different situations. I don't think that every conversation necessarily has to have a lofty goal, humanly speaking. It would be exhausting if each time we wanted to talk to someone, we had to accomplish certain goals or stick to a plan. It would also be overwhelming if we had to go deep into our emotions each time. I'm not a fan of surface-level conversation, but it's not always appropriate to share all the intimate details.

As for sharing the Gospel, I definitely think that it should be evident from the way we converse with each other and with others that we are believers. The Holy Spirit should lead us, but I don't think that means we should throw a "Praise Jesus" or "God enabled me to...." into every other sentence. I do think that when something begins to worry us about the way a conversation is going, that it is often the Holy Spirit asking us to make sure we are speaking in love and grace. And then we can ask ourselves those questions...am I being lazy and not giving the complete attention that is deserved? Am I arguing for no reason? Am I saying something about another person that is none of my business?

It's a good sign when we make these realizations. It means the Holy Spirit is working. But it's only the first step. Stopping and adjusting our attitude has to follow.

2 comments:

  1. V.............................August 2, 2009 at 5:32 AM

    It also should be mentioned that there's men's communication style and women's communication style. They are different. But I think generally we are all selfish and what we really want to talk about is... us. That's why we create blogs, youtube videos, facebook stuff, etc. It's all about us and our little egos. I mean, I am typing this post because I assume someone will read it and agree or disagree with me. Meaning, I want my opinion to be heard.

    As far as talking like we are Christians, I am not sure about that. That won't bring anyone to Jesus. It will make a lot of people feel uncomfortable around us, that's for sure. A lot of people who really influence other for Jesus are your everyday Sues and Joes. They are not some little apostle Pauls.

    Christians need to learn to be friends with others first and respect people for who they are and then try to bring them to Jesus. Not the other way around.

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  2. I was including men and women in the "personality differences."

    I don't think it is inherently bad to want to be heard. It can actually be just as selfish to hold one's thoughts in all the time, not wanting to share. I love when my friends post updates about their lives, and I know they are interested in mine. But I agree, the Internet has gotten out of hand.

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