Communicating well is a gift

Published 7:00 am Saturday, February 10, 2018

By Jonathan Filkins

One of the many gifts we posses is the gift of communication. Regularly, it centers around mundane subjects; such as the weather, the children, money, or similar everyday subjects.

In our communication, we often use a finite set of words. Observers have indicated that we regularly use only about 300 vocabulary words, or so, in our workaday lives. Sprinkle in a few words of jargon, and this may increase, but only by a small bit. Intriguingly, we limit ourselves to so few words, as there are tens of thousands more for us to use, to more accurately describe our fears, wants and desires.

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In our conversations, when they really get our attention, we may reach for words, beyond our normal list. Ask anyone’s opinion, most particularly about politics and religion, and there is a palpable change in the conversational climate. Bodies shift, the voice tone raises an octave and the pace increases. It is quite natural for us to do so, as these areas are particular passions of ours.

However, in our passion, our reason is often clouded by this very reality. Wisdom, understanding and the acceptance of other, perhaps conflicting, viewpoints may be found wanting; within ourselves. It is a remarkable thing, this curiosity of today’s sociological milieu, that there is an earnest belief everyone has a valid opinion. Even more incredulous, is the belief that everyone should hear these opinions.

Frequently we, or others in our conversations, may toss in familiar interjections.”To tell you the truth,” or, “honestly,” have become familiar emphasis points in our language skill set.  Yet, in the very use of these catchphrases, we are implying that what we said and say, before and after these words, are suspect; somehow veiled in the mists of deception.

While we may not truly mean to be wallowing in untruths, we should acknowledge that all of our viewpoints are colored by our life experiences; these being upbringing, education and predilections. In very little of what we say, may we hold that we are fully honest. Yes, the sky, may be “blue,” the grass may be  “green,” but the truth is far more complex, and out  “truth” is only from our own singular viewpoint.

When we develop a consensus, with others, then the pursuit of true truth becomes more complex. Consider, our recent history with the Third Reich, which millions believed was the “truth” for the future of humankind. Clearly, this “truth” was evil and fallacious, which called for a greater “truth” to go forward. By the grace of God, and the sacrifice of so many, we prevailed.

To paraphrase an ancient saying: “Truth is in the mind of the beholder.” What may be true to one, may be quite different to another. What may be honest to one, may be suspect by another. Such are our vagaries, in this our world. Such is the world within ourselves. Yet, all is not lost, unless we choose the self-deception of placing ourselves above God and above others.

If we choose so, we live the ultimate lie, as we are being deceptive within our own ourselves, and so desperately lacking real honesty within, to our eternal peril.

“Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” These honest words, speaking about following the words of Jesus Christ, come from the Gospel of Saint John.

The truth is the ministry of the Christ, as given to us by the Holy Bible and the establishment of the New Covenant with us. In order to follow Him, we are called to honor and obey. If we are truly honest with ourselves, it’s not so tough, If we need strength to do so, then all we need to do is ask.