Jim Class Period 4 07022020

I Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8a Love never fails. (NKJV)

One of the most often repeated clichés in any type of family counseling is, “The biggest problem in relationships is communication!” This statement has been made so many times and has become so ingrained in the ideals of those doing the counseling that it has become what I like to call, ‘counseling gospel’. It is not gospel, and communication isn’t the biggest problem in relationships.

The biggest problem in every relationship you will ever have is … selfishness. Being selfish is the opposite of being relational. If we are going to build relationships of any kind, we have to put self on the back burner. This is never truer than in the early stages of a relationship.

The second biggest problem in a relationship is that we are traditionally taught that communication is the biggest problem when it isn’t! Communication is critical in every relationship. But what we need to do is learn how to be effective communicators and that takes sacrifice. We must understand that not everyone communicates the same way. More importantly we must understand that many people communicate better than you do!

Realizing that you may not be the best communicator in the room is the first step toward selflessness (the opposite of selfishness). Coming to grips with the fact that people may not understand what you are saying because you could be saying it better will change the way you communicate.

We learn from an early age how to be effective communicators. It starts with our first words, and our first teachers are our parents. When a baby is learning its first words mom and dad are right there to repeat it back (over and over and over). And when they repeat it back, they usually do it a little louder than the baby did, and they always (especially moms) take the time to enunciate the word properly. So, instantly, we learn that we are not pronouncing the word right, and we are not saying it loud enough.

As silly as mom and dad sound when baby starts speaking, they really are helping that child become a better communicator. When my daughters first said, “Daddy.” I wanted them to say it loud and clear. But we are teaching an element of speech that we may not even be aware of during those precious moments. We are introducing our children to the nuances of nonverbal communication.

There have been many studies done on this subject. I used to be a trainer at a group homes where I worked. One of the courses I was certified to train was called C.A.P.E. (Controlling Aggression in the Patient’s Environment).

It was a therapeutic restraint technique used in situations where one of our charges was getting out of control physically and was a threat to harm themselves or others. We would wrap them up in a bear hug type hold and carefully lower them to the ground and continue to hold them until they were in a calm state.

The only way we would know that the child was calming down was through nonverbal cues they would give us throughout the episode. Their breathing rate would decrease, their pulse would decrease, they would become less rigid and more relaxed, they may even begin crying or fall asleep, all nonverbal signs that they were becoming less agitated.

The curriculum for this course stated that 97 percent of all communication is nonverbal. The message was, that through inflection, volume, body-language, and eye-contact the speaker could communicate opposite messages using the same words.

My tactic was to pick the person that had been most disruptive in the class and have them stand up. Then I would compliment them, usually on something they were wearing, “Wow, Bill (not a real person), that is a very nice sweater you’re wearing.”

I would use a very polite tone with a bit of a lilt, I would make good eye-contact while looking at the sweater a couple of times, the expression on my face would be pleasant and smiling. “Bill” would say, ‘Thank you’ and be taken aback that I complimented him.

Then I would turn the tables, I would use the same words, “Wow, Bill, that is a very nice sweater you’re wearing.” But with a sarcastic tone, my arms crossed, not eye-contact (I would usually roll my eyes in a dramatic fashion) and say it a little bit louder so everyone could hear. This clearly made the point about nonverbal cues and ‘Bill’ tended to be less disruptive for the rest of the class.

The point I want to make is this. Look at 1 Corinthians 13:408a. There are several statements in those verses that point to the fact that love, real love, is unselfish.

I Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8a Love never fails. (NKJV)

Being patient, kind, and not envying takes an unselfish person. It is hard for an unselfish person not to boast or be proud, the two seem closely connected.

Acting in a dishonorable fashion or seeking your own ways are also selfish.

I contend that every adjective used to describe love in this passage can also be used to define unselfishness. I encourage you to look through these verses and see if you arrive at the same conclusion.

If you do, and you see that you are not walking in these attributes, well, you could say your being selfish!

In Christ,

Jim