Interpersonal skills are
utilized when communicating with coworkers, friends, and family. The skills include body language, listening,
managing emotions, and questioning. The New Testament educates Christians on
communication and problem solving. Most quarrels in the workplace and home
begin with miscommunication or selfishness.
provides guidelines for effective communication and maintaining healthy
relationships. During a disagreement, emotions are often heightened. Paul
recognizes people are not always happy. “In your anger dot not sin: Do not let
the sun go down while you are still angry” (Ephesians 4:26). The issue might be unresolved by the time the
sun goes down, but making the last word a loving one improves the relationship. Unkind words hinder effective communication.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must
love one another” (John 13:34). Jesus
did not respond with harsh words. He answered with loving words. A Christian should put others before
themselves. In communication, listening and letting others express themselves
is important. “Do nothing out of selfish
ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves”
(Philippians 2:3). Motives impact a
person’s success in communication. If a conversation is led with a bad attitude,
the outcome has the possibility of ending a relationship. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of
your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their
needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29). Unpleasant talk does not produce a positive
environment. Parents teach their
children to not curse. In social
settings, a Christian should use wholesome dialog. Good behavior and
communication needs encouragement. “And let us consider how we may spur one
another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24). Discussions can turn into arguments by
provoking someone. Everyone has hot
buttons and targeting those does not help with problem resolution. With
conversations, Christians should use healthy interpersonal skills.
should have good communication skills, especially with negative and bitter
people. Conversations can lead to arguments with heighten emotions. “Paul warns
us against unwholesome language, bitterness, improper use of anger, brawling,
slander, and bad attitudes toward others” (Life Application Bible, pg. 1983). Ephesians was a prison epistle written to
encourage believers in their faith.
According to Schenck, Ephesians celebrates the unity of the church
between the Jews and Gentiles (pg. 537).
Different backgrounds can sometimes clash on ideas. Cultures are always changing. Jews were circumcised
and the gentiles were not. The church welcomed both, because of Jesus’
teaching. The church had disagreements, but Paul explains how to be respectful.
Ephesians 4:29 speaks of unwholesome talk that can include taking God’s name in
vain, vulgarity, and mean spirited conversations. “The Greek word translated
“unwholesome” means rotten, useless, or unprofitable” (Cole). Implementing wholesome can only happen when a
person identifies it. Angry words can
translate into threats and revenge. Many people take God’s name in vain. It
could be due to excitement or anger. Trigger
words can be used to dominate a conversation. A Christian should never aim to
win a conversation to obtain power. A Christian’s communication skills should
imitate Jesus’ style. It is human nature to judge and complain. A
Christian should not gripe in the things they have to do. Gripping causes the brain to think
negatively. With negative thoughts, a
person can project that attitude on others. God is holy and pure. His words are to uplift people, not to tear
them down. “There is one who speaks
rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing”
(Proverbs 12:18). During conflicts, Christians should use words that are
loving, patient kind and gentle. In the workplace and home, a person can adapt
principles such as constructive criticism, and patience.
Paul offers wisdom in communication
that applies to work and home life. The economy impacted industries in the
United States. Ephesians 4:29 can apply to conflicts in the workplace. Companies have cut head counts without
reducing the amount of work to do. Currently, I am working for a company
reducing head count and exploring strategic scenarios. I have joined a project
team with diverse personalities. A lady named Norie is Filipino with a heavy
accent. For clarification purposes, she
tends to repeat herself. During a meeting, Norie repeated herself several
times. The project leader announces to the group that Norie should write on
paper her comments so people can understand them. The passive aggressive comment was made
because Norie found an opportunity to improve the project manager’s solution. A
correct response would have included wholesome words. “Use words that will help
the other person grow in godliness” (Cole). The manager could have encouraged
Norie in her attempt and constructively criticized the concept. Paul’s teachings can apply to home life. After
a long day of work, a child’s energy can be taxing on a parent. The number of single mothers has increased in
the United States. Working with an
afterschool program, I witnessed a mother lose her temper. She had two sons.
The youngest was hyper active and forgot to take his ADHD medication. The older
son was apologizing to his mother. She blamed him and coupled it with
exaggeration. She compared her son to his absent father. The conversation
turned into an unwholesome exchange. By
adapting wholesome talk, the mother could have used patient and kind words. “You should especially be kind when someone
has done something dumb or has failed” (Cole).
By thanking her son for helping out, the mother could have used positive
reinforcement and addressed his error in a healthy conversation. In all situations, Christians should internally
judge impure thoughts and use positive language. Kind, loving, and patient
words immolate Jesus’ conversation style.