Hello everyone and welcome to episode 120, “The Best Relationship Advice From This Summer.”
Did summer go by too quickly for you? It did for me. “Summer deserves a speeding ticket,” as someone once said.
Another author commented, “A fallen leaf is nothing more than a summer’s wave goodbye.” Before we wave goodbye to summer, and to season 5 of this podcast, I want to share the best relationship advice I came across this past summer.
Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young
It comes from Sarah Young’s devotional book, Jesus Calling. For each day of the year, Young shares her application of two or three Bible verses to encourage people with the hope found in scripture. There are lots of books like this. But what makes her book unique is that it’s written in the first-person narrative as if Jesus himself was speaking directly to the reader. I find it quite intimate and personal.
Young’s entry for August 3rd contains for me, the best relationship advice of this past summer. It’s just two paragraphs that I’ll start reading, making a few observations as we go.
August 3rd entry
Picture Jesus calling to you with these words:
WATCH YOUR WORDS DILIGENTLY. Words have such great power to bless or to wound. When you speak carelessly or negatively, you damage others as well as yourself.
My first observation is that it’s interesting to think we damage ourselves when we’re negative or careless with our words. In doing so, we move away from the best version of ourself. For the best version of ourself is cautious about the harm we can do to someone. There are times when it is appropriate to deal with the negative in another person, but to do it positively, and carefully. Like a parent correcting a child. Like a friend who shares something negative they observe in you, but who does it in a kind and gentle way to help you become more the person God created you to be.
Sarah Young goes on to write, speaking as Jesus,
The ability to verbalize is an awesome privilege, granted only to those I created in my image. You need help in wielding this mighty power responsibly.
Humans are the only creatures who can bless – or wound – with our words. We’re the only ones with language. It’s one of the things that makes us human. And we certainly do need help in handling this power we’ve been give to bless or wound people.
Communicate differently from the rest of the world
Though the world applauds quick-witted retorts, My instructions about communication are quite different: “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. “
So many comedy TV shows are filled with quick, sarcastic retorts. It’s hard to follow sometimes. I picture writers for these TV shows in meetings all clamoring to get their sarcastic one-liner responses into the scripts, and so
they add one after the other after the other. But that’s not how we talk. It’s not how we live.
The reference to “be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry” is one of my favorites in the Bible. I conduct workshops on this passage from James 1:19, suggesting 5 principles of being quick to listen, and another 5 for what it means to be slow to speak. We’ll talk about these in future episodes. I’ve said this before, but what passes for communication skills in our culture today, is almost always about how and what to speak. Precious little on how to listen.
The best one-word prayer: Help!
Back to Jesus talking to us:
Ask MY Spirit to help you whenever you speak. I have trained you to pray – “Help me, Holy Spirit” – before answering the phone, and you have seen the benefits of this discipline.
This so reminds me of Anne Lamont’s book about prayer, Help, Thanks, Wow. Help is the most basic of prayers.
Sarah Young goes on to say,
Simply apply the same discipline to communicating with people around you. If they are silent, pray before speaking to them. If they are talking, pray before responding. These are split-second prayers, but they put you in touch with My Presence. In this way, your speaking comes under the control of My Spirit.
What a great way of relating to others, and to Jesus. Asking Him to direct your thoughts and words in relating to others. In meeting with people as my wife and I do, and hearing their struggles, it’s often a matter of asking God for help in knowing how to respond. And it certainly is split second. Split nano-second to be sure.
The author concludes with,
As positive speech patterns replace your negative one, the increase in your Joy will amaze you.
Supporting verses from the Bible
She then lists the James 1:19 verse about being quick to listen and slow to speak, followed by Proverbs 12:18, which says, “Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.”
And then Ephesians 4:29, “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”
For me, I find all of this the best relationship advice there is from this past summer. I’ll read Sarah Young’s two-paragraph entry from August 3rd again, without commentary from me so you can soak it all in.
The Best Relationship Advice from this past summer
WATCH YOUR WORDS DILIGENTLY. Words have such great power to bless or to wound. When you speak carelessly or negatively, you damage others as well as yourself. The ability to verbalize is an awesome privilege, granted only to those I created in my image. You need help in wielding this mighty power responsibly.
Though the world applauds quick-witted retorts, My instructions about communication are quite different: Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. Ask MY Spirit to help you whenever you speak. I have trained you to pray – “Help me, Holy Spirit” – before answering the phone, and you have seen the benefits of this discipline. Simply apply the same discipline to communicating with people around you. If they are silent, pray before speaking to them. If they are talking, pray before responding. These are split-second prayers, but they put you in touch with My Presence. In this way, your speaking comes under the control of my Spirit. As positive speech patterns replace your negative one, the increase in your Joy will amaze you.
Here’s the main point I hope you remember from today’s episode
Let’s all of us wave back to summer by applying Sarah Young’s best relationship advice. Namely, pray, “Help me, Holy Spirit” before I talk to the silent people in my life, as well as before I respond to those who so readily talk.
I’d love to hear any thoughts you have about today’s episode.
In closing, if you found this podcast helpful, please follow us wherever you get your podcasts, if you haven’t already done so.
I hope your thinking was stimulated by today’s show, to both reflect and to act by asking for God’s help through his spirit before you talk to people. This will help you find the joy God intends for you through your relationships. Because after all, You Were Made for This.
Well, that’s all for today. I look forward to connecting with you again next week, and the start of season six of You Were Made for This. Until then, goodbye for now.
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