Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
You are reading this on the internet, through a medium known as a blog, which is part of the phenomenon called "social media," which includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc.
I could also have sent you this message via "robo call." I would have recorded my voice and then used software called Phone Tree to send it out.
I could have delivered the message on Skype. Or I could have videoed myself and posted it on YouTube.
Or I could have sent you a text. Or an email.
Nowadays we have more means of communication than ever before in human history. We've come a long way from the days when rotary phones and snail mail were our only choices.
We have more means of communication than we've ever had -- and yet our ability to truly communicate is lower than it's ever been.
This week our theme has been "Love Completely." To love completely we have to communicate on a deeper-than-surface level. Communicating like this requires...
- Face time: 80% of communication is non-verbal. While phone calls, emails, and texts are important methods of sharing information quickly, real communication on a heart level can only happen face-to-face.
- Truth-telling: Revealing your heart. Saying what needs to be said. Speaking the truth, even though it's painful, in a loving way. Please notice that last point. How do you know if you're "speaking the truth in love?" (Ephesians 4:15). If you're seeking to build up and not tear down (see Ephesians 4:29)
- Listening: A lost art in our society. Sitting still and keeping your mouth shut long enough to let the other person say everything they need to say. Repeating back to them what you heard. Avoiding judgment and critique, but really trying to understand where the other person is coming from.
- Patience: Real communication takes time. It doesn't happen in 15-second soundbites. It can't be contained in a text message or a 140-character tweet.
Face time, truth-telling, listening, patience -- these are rare commodities nowadays. Personally, I believe it's because of all of the new methods of communication. We "connect" with hundreds of people instantly--but we're truly close to none of them.
I'm not suggesting we throw out social media, texts, and email. Just that we make very sure that we take the time to truly communicate with the most important people in our lives. After all -- if you had One Month to Live, wouldn't you want to do more than send those folks an email?
One more thing that's necessary for true communication to happen: Acceptance. Acceptance means you stop trying to change someone and start trying to understand them. As today's Scripture indicates, acceptance means you see the other person the way Christ sees them.
Acceptance is the necessary first step to true communication. If I know you accept me, I can risk telling you the truth. If I accept you, I will listen to you without judging or interrupting.
If I think you don't accept me, then chances are I won't reveal my heart--and deeper-than-surface communication won't happen.
Find some time today to sit down and truly communicate with someone you love.