Thursday, March 11, 2010

Communication ≠ Contest

A lesson that seems to be very hard learned is that communication is not equal to contest.

This fact is especially hard for a person to acknowledge once the person has entered into an argument. An argument is a contest. Those in the argument are contesting one another, seeking to gain a superior position to the other, seeking to make one’s own point to prevail over the other’s.

This is actually the opposite of communication.

Communication is a giving and a receiving.

Argument is contestation. It is one sided from two opposing sides. It results in escalation. Argument continues until one side or the other or both begin to listen, to receive, and not just to attempt to give forcibly. Argument is violent.

Communication is peaceable. It begins with agreement on at least some point. It has agreement as its objective. It always includes listening with actual hearing.

An adage applied to communication is that a person is created with two ears and only one mouth for a reason.

Those who are wise remember this adage when attempting to communicate.

This is especially true in communication with God. We apply the term “worship” to this. Worship includes such things as prayer. Worship is communication where the two to one principle is absolutely necessary as we approach it. If we forget the two to one principle in this communication, it ceases to be true worship.

Jesus said:

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23-24)

Spirit and Truth, both are from the Father. Neither are from the worshiper. Worship is not something that is produced by the worshiper. This includes true prayer. True prayer is listening and hearing God.

The liturgy of the divine service is designed with this as its structure. This is why so many today desire to discard the historic liturgy. The liturgy teaches us to hear God. But people are inclined to want to tell God, not to hear God. And so the liturgy does not appeal to most people.

Jesus teaches that true worship is in spirit and in truth. Where are the Spirit and the Truth encountered? In the preaching and in the Sacraments. The Truth is the Word. Jesus is the Truth. He is present and continually speaks to us throughout the divine service where the Word is preached purely and the Sacraments are administered accordingly. The Spirit also is present and at work wherever the Word is present.

So what appearance then does true worship have? God speaks and the worshipers hear what God says. Then the worshipers respond with what they have heard, hearing yet again God’s grace, mercy, and peace proclaimed. Thus the two to one principle is in full effect. The worshipers hear God speak and they hear God again as they speak and sing what God has given to them to speak and sing. This is what the Lord Jesus teaches in the Our Father. This is what the prophets and the apostles admonish.

When this is the pattern that rules the hearts of those who confess faith in Christ, then this becomes the pattern in their daily lives. Their communication reflects this. Thus, when Christians are walking in spirit, they do not argue. When arguments arise, the person walking in spirit realizes that this is not communication and not the way of the peace of God and the person becomes silent until the other person is willing to speak peaceably. If that does not occur, the Christian walks away from the one who rejects his peace, which is really the peace of God.

Arguing is not equal to communication. Arguing actually has the opposite result of true communication. Remembering this when an argument is in the formative stages is invaluable. Those who do remember this are called blessed. (Matthew 5)

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