In Deuteronomy 6:5-9 we find a key command that we all know and repeat with great ease, yet there is a communication plan following the greatest commandment that we often overlook.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Deuteronomy 6:5-9 (ESV)
Let’s study Deuteronomy 6:5-9 to determine God’s plan for families.
- There should be a passion for a personal relationship with God.
- This passion for a relationship with God should be taught diligently in the home.
- Talking about the Lord should be a common thing in your home.
- Our relationship with the Lord should be evident in our walk and in our homes.
Notes About Communication with Others:
- In order for hearts to open to hear the Gospel and for relationships in the home to foster honest and open communication, there has to be a willingness to open up which comes from trust which comes from a confidence in each other, which comes from security.
- Security comes from an environment of safety and an atmosphere that says, “I am genuinely interested in you as a person – not to control you, lay my agenda on you, or preach you a sermon. I am on your side. I believe in you and want the best for you.
Are you willing to back out of the limelight with your sarcasm and not get the “laugh” with your peers or family members when you could easily cut someone down with your words and get a laugh out of those around you?
Check out these verses and what they have to say about communication:
- Psalm 19:14
- Proverbs 12:25
- Proverbs 18:21
- Ephesians 4:29-32
- Colossians 3:8-10
- Philippians 4:5
Facts about Communication in the Home and in Relationships:
- Communication is essential in influencing family members and others, and you want to learn to influence those around you.
- You can have tough talks and keep the relationships strong. Never be scared of truth telling, but tell the truth in love.
- Each conversation will have an impact on the next conversation. Your conversation can be either positive or negative, and your next conversation will either be easier or harder.
- The type communication you experienced in your family of origin impacts the way you communicate today. Try to understand your spouse’s own family experience to better communicate.
- You can learn to be a better communicator. You cannot use the excuse that you are just not a great communicator. You can work to improve your communication skills.
10 Powerful Statements to Make with Your Children:
- YES! You can…
- How can I pray for you?
- Will you forgive me?
- God has a plan for you!
- We are excited that you are growing up and going through new phases.
- I know it hurts.
- You are more important to me than my work (or television, or a report card).
- I am so glad you are in our family.
- I love you too much to let you do that.
- Try to be patient with me. I’ve never had to parent you at this age before, so we are learning together.
Beware of Non-verbal Expressions that Threaten Communication:
- Rolling eyes: I’m annoyed. I disagree with you.
- Crossed arms: I am closed and upset. I am not going there.
- Tapping/fidgeting: I am nervous and tense. There may be things I want to say, but I can’t or things I am asked to say that I don’t want to say.
- One-word response: I feel my thoughts don’t matter, and I am just too upset to talk about it.
Kinds of Talk:
- Small talk is where most of us live. Try to move the conversation toward something deeper. Avoid the questions that only result in “yes” or “no” responses.
- Sting talk is unhealthy communication. Sting talk contains little barbs of sarcasm and manipulation that can hurt. Smart remarks can seem innocent, but over time they take on a toxic nature that shuts down healthy communication. While the comments might be funny, the comments are also disrespectful and rude. Ephesians 4:29
- Search talk is talk that allows people to share their dreams and goals. You can ask for explanations, examples, dreams, and explore what if’s together.
- Straight talk is when you share your heart and your feelings. Feelings aren’t right or wrong – they just are. Avoid telling a person, “You shouldn’t feel that way.”
- Tough talk is when you must confront someone with the truth. (Examples: I love you too much to let you do this. You have broken trust, and you will need to build it back, Sin always has a consequence, I can’t fix this for you, You will not talk to your mom like that.) Read Proverbs 1:8-10
The family meeting can become a key tool you use to take the ordinary concerns of life to an extraordinary God as He provides direction and answers for your family’s needs.
Tools from the Communication Toolbelt:
- Call a family meeting. The family meeting can become a key tool you use to take the ordinary concerns of life to an extraordinary God as He provides direction and answers for your family’s needs.
- Use natural times of the day that conversations might flow naturally (mornings, bedtime, mealtime, re-entry). Be cautious about communicating about important things at the other person’s best time of day to hear you out.
- Make sure you have the person’s attention – for a child you can say, “Look at my nose.” But don’t just use this technique to get their attention for discipline, use it to bless the child. Examples: Brandon, God has a great plan for your life. Jackson, I love the way you always value kids and have time to have conversations with them. Kristen, we are proud of you for being a gatherer of people and not wanting anyone to be left out.
- Respond to non-verbal messages. If you are talking to a spouse, you can observe the non-verbal cues and tell if the husband feels respected and the wife feels loved. If the person you are communicating to responds with non-verbal cues, stop talking and figure out how to change what you are doing to help them feel valued, secure, and loved.
Application and Questions to Discuss Around the Table:
- Look back at the Scripture passages used in this session. Find one that addresses you specifically. Would you share how you want to use that verse this week to become a better communicator?
- Read Proverbs 16:24 and share about someone you have had in your life whose words were healing to you.
- Do you allow anger to come in between you and the person with whom you need to communicate? Sometimes anger stops communication completely. What can you do to deal with your anger and to keep the lines of communication open? Look up Ephesians 4:26.
- Is there someone you have been harsh with in the past with your words? Do you need to apologize and ask them to forgive you? What’s your plan? A phone call, visit, written letter?
- Have you allowed “Sting Talk” to be commonplace in your home or with your peers? How does “Sting Talk” dishonor the Lord and the person? Can you think of times you have been stung with words? Are you willing to back out of the limelight with your sarcasm and not get the “laugh” with your peers or family members when you could easily cut someone down with your words and get a laugh out of those around you?
- How can your words be a source of encouragement to others this week? Should your family, your workplace, your eating around the table, or your ride on a bus be different because of this Bible study this week?
- Ask those at you table to pray specifically for you in regard to the taming of your tongue this week.
(Ideas for this session are taken from “The Parent Adventure” by Rodney and Selma Wilson,
Copyright 2008, LifeWay Press)