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She Said, He Heard

• Greg Boyd

The topic for our third week in the Heart Smart series is communication. Communication is the essence of all relationships and as such, it is a very important aspect of who we are as image bearers of Christ. We should see communication as a Kingdom activity worth learning to do well.

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The topic for our third week in the Heart Smart series is communication. Communication is the essence of all relationships and as such, it is a very important aspect of who we are as image bearers of Christ. The Triune God in his very nature is relationship. To communicate with another is to share our selves, thoughts, and feelings. Often times we reduce communication down to the acts of hearing and talking. Communication results in a shared common understanding about something. Part of what it takes for two people to come to such a common understanding is recognizing everyone has their own individual perspective in which they see the world. We all filter information differently depending on our experiences and understandings. This means that people can assume their meaning of a word is the real objective meaning about the way things are, but the truth is our view is only one factor of the equation. In order to communicate effectively, a person must learn to view things apart from their own filter. This process is difficult and challenging, but it is also so important. Communicating requires us to try and set aside our filters and get inside of the other person’s filter. This will involve resisting our tendency to ascribe our own meaning to words, gestures, and expressions, but rather try to access the other person’s meaning.

The Bible has much to say about communication. In James 1:19, believers are told to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. While too often we tend to think by talking more our point will be better heard, it is actually in learning to listen well that true communication begins to result. We should seek to understand the other person first, and then attempt to be understood. One way of doing this is to withhold your response until you are sure of what is being said. This will require us to set aside our own agendas and become intentionally about truly desiring to understand the other person. Listening should be thought of as an activity that involves just as much work as talking. Becoming an active listener is an important part of learning how to listen well. We should be listening beyond the words of another and seek to find the deeper heart and meaning behind their words. We can do this by asking probing questions and checking to make sure what you heard is what was meant. It is only after we are sure we are understanding the other person that we should respond. Our ability to communicate effectively with others is foundational to becoming an image bearer of Christ. While good communication is difficult, it is also a part of Kingdom living and will result in bringing about the Kingdom more fully in our world today.

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Topics: Conflict, Judgment, Relationships

Sermon Series: Heart Smart

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Focus Scripture:

  • James 1:19

    My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.

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4 thoughts on “She Said, He Heard

  1. Anders Van Vestern says:

    I thought the Pink Floyd icon on cartoon Greg’s t-shirt was right on the “money.” Kudos the the graphic artist responsible.

  2. kevin says:

    The work involved in getting in on another’s Map is so profoundly difficult for me that i have simply had to limit my relationships to two; my mom and one friend. i’m just simply not willing to go through this with everyone i know. it’s much simpler to be alone.

  3. Dave Pritchard says:

    There are good examples of “Country Western Speed Metal Bands” out there –

    Sometimes musical “cross-genre” works! And other times, well……not so hot! Ha!


    Wow, that’s some intense introspection! I hear ya bro. But remember no matter how messed up our own mentally tangled map matrix might happen to be, (speaking for myself – ha!) we are still “One in the Lord”. I think we can love, empathize and respect one another without stepping too deep into each other’s heads – but granted, it’s a tricky business! We can and should “bear one another’s burdens” – Galatians 6:2, but I think one could potentially go mad attempting to dissect the rationality of those we “think” we know well. So your caution that your comment suggests, is well-metered. Acknowledging the fact that someone’s “map” [of life experience and thus “reality”] is severely different than our own, is enough to start traveling with that person down some common pathways.

  4. Sari Eliza says:

    Bumping up this message I’ve been lightly skimming, admittedly speaking, and I have a challenge for Greg Boyd! Everyone else has permission as well:

    If the Devil intends to destroy, then why not destroy our ability to speak? No words, body language, etc. (see video 19:14) This particular problem may actually go deeper as there are, yes, some people that are Mentally Incapable of self-awareness and/or independent choice. How can we decode them if there’s no code to decode? Does that mean they have no relationship for us, or even worse, no way of receiving God’s Salvation? How can they really communicate back to God at all??

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