If I were to speak with eloquence in earth’s many languages, and in the heavenly tongues of angels, yet I didn’t express myself with love, my words would be reduced to the hollow sound of nothing more than a clanging cymbal. (1 Cor 13:1) Passion Translation
Recently, I attended a webinar and the speaker encouraged us to communicate with the fruit of the Spirit. The very first fruit of the Spirit that Paul mentions is love.
As I was looking for examples of people who communicate with love, it dawned on me that Paul’s letters are a great example of communicating with love. While his letters contain profound theological teaching, Paul himself tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:1 that if he did not express these with love, he would be nothing more than a clanging cymbal.
As I read Paul’s letters, I gleaned the following five principles for communicating with love:
1. Before sending an email, making a phone call, sending a text, or going into a meeting, take a moment to pray with thanksgiving to God for the person or people you will be communicating with. It is amazing how God changes our perspective about people when we pause to pray with thanksgiving for them.
2. Passionately communicate with hope: encouraging, instructing, and admonishing people to live their lives with the highest ethical and professional standards, in order to accomplish the goals of the company, department, or team.
3. Enter into the story of the people you are communicating to. When you enter into a person’s story, your communication shifts from a series of transactions into a relationship. Communicate in such a way that Christ’s love flows through your presence, your emails, your phone calls, your presentations, and your social media posts. God can use you to transform their story.
4. Continue to be a student of communication techniques and tools. Instead of defaulting to communication styles that have worked in the past, take the time to learn how best to use new tools, like Zoom or Microsoft Teams, out of love for the people you are communicating with.
5. Strategically vary your communication style depending on whether you are responding to a question, encouraging someone, expressing thanks, affirming common beliefs, gaining support for your position, defending your authority, or persuading your audience.
These five points barely scratch the surface of how Paul communicates with love. I invite you to take the time to read through Paul’s letters, asking yourself the question, “What can I learn from the way that Paul communicates?”
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the examples you give us in Scripture as to how we can communicate with love. May the words that we speak and the words that we write reflect the love you have poured out into our hearts.