Communication finds its heritage in making things common. And this is what anyone who has ever had a friend, teacher, lover or family member could attest to.
It is no surprise that the word “community” and the word “communication” find their construction in the word “common”. Communication implies that it must be done in community; it must involve more than one party. Likewise, community implies that there is a form of regular communication established. How could a community share things in common (Acts 2:44) if there is no communication? The answer is that they could not.
Communication should be thorough yet simple while still being direct and loving. As a student of the humanities, I find much of my career in higher education being determined by my essays. If I am not thorough and simple (a nice word for this concept being concise) and if I am not maintaining direction and love (I think edifying is the most appropriate word), then I have not achieved what I set out to do.
When I am not thorough, my argument can easily be seen as foolish. If I lack simplicity, my writing will not be understood by many people. If direction is absent, readers will search for a point and not find one. Finally, if I do write from a standpoint of love, the essay is not of eternal value, and is therefore of no value at all. This may seem technical, but I believe that well-rounded writing helps strengthen better communication. Obviously I don’t claim to have a complete list of the necessities of good communication, but at this point I’ll stand by these four concepts as foundational ones.
In a practical sense, I have also spent much of my time in college living in small, sometimes forced, intentional and extremely messy communities. It has been proven to me time and time again that our ability as a whole group to communicate thoroughly, simply, directly and lovingly dictates how well or how poorly we are going to function.
I could probably tell a story where I failed or someone else failed in every single one of these areas. But the point here is not to complain, but to encourage. When we take a serious approach to the way we communicate with those around us, our lives with one another look vastly different than the world. Ephesians 4:29 is set in the context of describing a community of believers. In this verse, Paul commands “do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
As a follower and lover of Jesus, we must consider how much of an impact our communication with one another has on the community in which we dwell.
Thorough, simple, direct, loving. Let us think and speak within these things.