Ephesians 4:15 – But speaking the truth love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.
Paul wrote this letter to the believers in Ephesus from a Roman prison around 61-63 AD. His purpose was to show Christians who they really were “in Christ.” Christ’s body, the Church though made up of Jews and Gentiles was ONE and not divided. It was comprised of people who were different in many ways and with different perspectives on life. Yet submitting to the same Christ as “head” or Lord would bring them into a unity in which they were to grow and be a witness.
We live in a broken and divided world. Yet the problem lies within a particular unit of society – the human family! It is no secret what Christ did for his Bride, the Church. He loved her and laid down his life for her. Now God wants Christian husbands and wives, with their children, to reflect on and live out this love at home. The key to valuing and building up any relationship is communication.
The word communication comes from the Latin com-munis, which means “to share, make common, or have a common faith.” So for believers, this is more than exchanging ideas or words. It’s about sharing a common life—Christ’s life in us—in a way that blesses others and causes us to become more like Jesus together.
Here are six secrets from Paul’s advice to the Ephesians (4:12-32) to help us improve our communication that we can apply in our family conversations:
Secret #1: Silence can say something profound!
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is not true! Inappropriate or rude words hurt people and can irreparably damage them for life! Paul exhorts us to speak truth in love and shows us how lying and anger can ruin relationships (25-27). So while there is a time to speak, there is also a time to keep silent! Within our families, the general principle, “If you have nothing good to say about someone say, nothing at all”, can be helpful.
Secret #2: Say something meaningful, don’t shut down!
When we’re hurt, instead of lashing out, we often tend to hide—we cave in or bottle up our feelings and don’t communicate. This allows Satan to let bitterness and misunderstanding to develop within both parties (30-32). Before the sun goes down, talk things over. Be honest, kind, tender-hearted, and forgive. Say “sorry” to one another. Being careful, yet truthful, promotes harmony in homes.
Secret #3: Show Christ’s mind, don’t give out pieces of your own!
Our talk stems from the thoughts we cultivate, so we must think before we speak. Paul stresses the importance of having a Christ-like mind (17, 23). We must not be ignorant of or imitate those who are unsaved. Rather each family member who has “learned Christ” must seek to understand the others (18, 20). Only then will our attitudes and communication at home be winsome.
Secret #4: Speak only what is true, don’t lie to one another
Telling “the whole truth and nothing but the truth” starts at home! A lie is any statement that contradicts the facts, misleads, or intends to deceive. It breaks trust and relationships. If we always speak the truth we don’t have to remember what we said yesterday! Did you know that hell was prepared for habitual liars? (Rev. 22:15). A loving family that speaks truth is a safe haven.
Secret #5: Share only what’s worthy of the Gospel, don’t gossip
“Corrupt” communication must never characterize Christians (29). This word refers to what becomes “rotten, filthy, or worthless” and spoils healthy relationships. We must not take those closest to us for granted by talking down, badly of them, or behind their backs. Let us encourage or “minister grace” to each other in order to survive tough times and thrive as a godly family.
Secret #6: Say it in a way that builds up and blesses others
The Christian family must be a vital part of a local church to receive from and build other families. As a faith community we can reach out to our society. As the “salt of the earth,” people will sense our influence by our seasoned speech. This is how we not only grow up or mature “in Christ,” but compassionately share the truth about our soon-coming Bridegroom!