How To Converse Like a Christian...
I don't know what you think about when I use these two words together "Christian" and "Conversation"? For a long time, I would have just looked at 'Christian' conversation as works spoken that avoid swearing and maybe inserted discussion about Jesus. And...let me be clear, I think both of those things qualify as an important part of 'Christian' conversation. But I want to draw attention not just to the WORDS we say when we converse, but the WAY we converse - if we want to carry on a conversation like a Christian.
I think this is especially important for 2 reasons right now. First, because I've noticed many, many people have lost the ability to effectively carry on a conversation - which is an essential building block of all relationships and ministry. Second, because sometimes we forget how much of what we communicate to others is non-verbal. Meaning, our words can be saying one thing, but our actions can say something completely different. And, as Christians, we
want to be concerned about not just the words we say, but what we are NOT SAYING and yet clearly communicating.
So, here are 4 tips for conversing like a Christian!
Listen! When you monologue - you may be doing nothing but saying what is on your mind, but you ARE saying something very important to the other person - that you don't really matter. A monologue is appropriate in situations when you are coming to hear, to glean, from what someone else. But friendships and relationships happen when their is DIALOGUE. So, check to see if you are engaging in what Bonhoeffer calls the "ministry of silence". If you leave a conversation knowing nothing new or nothing more about the person to which you were talking, then you have engaged in a monologue, not a dialogue, and may have communicated something to that person you didn't mean to.
Ask Questions! Did you know that the single best way to show someone that you find them valuable is to ask them questions? It's true! Asking questions tells the person - I'm interested in YOU. I want to hear what's going on with YOU. My focus is on YOU. I can't count how many times I've had conversations that have been a steady stream of questions to understand and know a person, but even when there is a lull in conversation and the void demands filling - the question never comes.
Learn From Others! Let someone teach you. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "Every man I meet is my master at some point, and in that I learn of him." When we come with all the answers, and never are able to learn from others, then we are saying "I have nothing to learn from you!" This is simply not true. I learn things from my children all the time! So, don't have to have all the answers. Learn from others!
Be Intentional/Pro-Active in Conversing! One of the best ways we non-verbally
communicate value, love, etc. is by intentionally prioritizing times of conversation.
My hope is that these will help you converse like a Christian! And that the Lord will strengthen friendships, encourage you, and use you to build others up!