Tuesday, December 11, 2007

War of Words

War of Words: Getting to the Heart of Your Communication Struggles
by Paul David Tripp

Ever have a hard time communicating with people? Ever try to argue your point to someone, only to have it end in hurt feelings? Ever break down and give up when trying to explain something to someone? Everyone has experienced communication problems in one way or another. It might be with a husband, wife, child, parent, friend, enemy, roommate, co-worker, or even a stranger. You can't live in this world without communicating with others.

I highly recommend this book. Paul David Tripp does a fantastic job getting to the heart of our problems with talking with one another. He outlines what the problem is and how to change. Basically, the solution is the Gospel. The only way to change how we talk to one another is by getting to the root of the problem, which occurs in our hearts.

Here is an excerpt from the end of the book:
The damage can be seen in our offices, kitchens, family rooms, and cars, but the battle isn't really fought there. Battles of the tongue are really battles of the heart. What controls the heart will control the tongue. The tongue can set "the whole course of life on fire," or it can be used to "give grace to the ones who hear." It can viciously tear down or lovingly build up. It can condemn or give life. It can greet sin with love and forgiveness or with hatred and revenge. It can submit to the lordship of Christ or live under the control of the passions and desires of the sinful nature. It can pursue a lifestyle of ministry or a lifestyle of self-love, manipulating others to meet personal desires and expectations. It can be a fount of truth or a polluted stream of falsehood. It can create peace or cause war. It can curse or it can praise.

In it all, the tongue will serve the master to which the heart is already committed. It is time for us to submit to the Lord's claim on our tongues as our King and Redeemer. More than ever before, we need to be committed to speak for him.
As we do, we will learn to choose words of truth, love, restraint, grace, and forgiveness, even in the face of provocation. We will get excited about the grandeur of our calling as children of God. It is amazing that God would choose us to be members of his family! It is beyond amazing that he would call us to be his ambassadors, to represent him on earth, to communicate his loving appeal to a world enslaved to self.

The war of words is only won when God rules our hearts so that we gladly and consistently speak for him. May God help us, so that this world of evil will be transformed into a world of redemptive good.
This book has been especially helpful in my life, since I have come to realize that the words that come across to my wife are actually unloving and unlike Christ. In my heart, I am often stubborn and always want to prove to her that I am right and she is wrong. I am not humble. I am not sacrificial. I want to win. I want her to lose. That's what my hard heart's desire is.

But Jesus gives me his power through the Holy Spirit within me to understand that, and to continually soften my heart. I want to please God with my talk because of what he has done for me. He replaces my heart's desire to be the best with a new desire to serve. A new desire to be an ambassador representing Christ in my life and in my marriage.

I really got a lot out of this book, especially with his Scripture references and understanding them more in context. Paul David Tripp is also very honest and funny, and reveals much sin in his life and how Jesus has changed and is sanctifying his heart too. Go check it out.

Image from amazon.com.