We had just returned from a weekend trip and were gone only three days. Upon return, it was frustrating to open my email and discover I had over 600 in my inbox. As I scrolled through them, the average was only one out of 50 for me personally. The other 49 were solicitations. It seems advertising has taken over our electronic means of communication. These advancements in technology have changed our methods of communication to the point that we are bombarded with more information than we want or need. As a result, we can easily overlook those messages that are important to us personally.
Communication has been vital in building relationships since the beginning of time. I consider myself a little tech savvy and enjoy the benefits of technology, but one on one relationships have taken a toll from this form of communication. Things seem to be derailed from the original intention of communication for relationship building on a personal level.
I can remember as a young newlywed the excitement of receiving a handwritten letter from my mother. My name was on the envelope and when I opened the letter, I didn’t have to sort through 49 unsolicited ads to get to her message. I also remember my first job in a bank. If you needed to send a message to someone in a different department, you used inter-office memos. There is no doubt that email has made communication easier in an office setting, but for many, even that is antiquated today. Now we have a faster form of communication with texting, or messaging. But all of these modern methods of communication have taken away the personal touch of one on one relationship building.
In looking up the definition for communication, you find the business definition and the relational definition. It is the relational definition that is the purpose of this blog:
In simple terms, interpersonal communication is the communication between one person and another. It is often referred to as face-to-face communication between two, or more, people. Both verbal and nonverbal communication, or body language, play a part in how one person understands another. The Latin meaning is ‘to share’. (From Wikipedia)
If we lose sight of the relationship building aspect of communicating, we can become antisocial and isolated. We can come across in our messages as harsh and uncaring. Following a corporate career, I can remember my first position in a ministry where I was ‘called on the carpet’ for the tone of my emails. I was still communicating in the business style as opposed to the relational style required in ministry. Ministry is about relationship. I had to learn to add ‘hearts and flowers’ to my communication style to prevent the messages from coming across as harsh.
Jesus was all about building relationships. There are many ‘one another’ admonitions in the Bible, such as ‘love one another’. We need to take those commands to heart and apply them to everyday living if we intend to succeed in the journey of life with others. It is important to reach out to one another with a personal touch expressing the love of friendship in a way that we can look into one another’s eyes.
The following are a few steps for making that possible:
- Make a call to meet for fellowship, either one on one or in small groups.
- Turn off all electronic devices while visiting face to face.
- Listen to one another without distractions.
- Maintain eye contact.
- Think about what the other person is saying without interrupting or thinking about what you want to say next.
- Share experiences and interests always with truth at the forefront.
- Think relational rather than electronically.
- Don’t be derailed by gossip. Stick to the truth.
- Most important, share the love of Jesus and God’s word – what God is doing or has done in your life. Allow the love of Jesus to be prevalent in your conversation and actions.
“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly (sisterly) affection.” Romans 12:9-10 (ESV)