Part 5 of a 6 part series. View series intro and index.
I can’t count the number of times on a weekly basis that I get disappointed with a person or a situation because something has gone wrong. Most of the time, I find myself frustrated, not because someone really did something evil or offensive to me, but because the advance of my agenda was halted. The kingdom of James came crashing down.
Your Biggest Communication Problem
Teacher and counselor Paul Tripp puts it like this: “You get angry, not because God’s law was broken, but because your law was broken.” That’s convicting, isn’t it? More often than not, when our blood gets boiling, it’s usually because we didn’t get our way. Rarely are we ever displeased, Tripp says, when God doesn’t get his way.
When a conflict arises, and I sense anger, defensiveness, sadness, or any emotion contrary to love brewing in my heart, I need to consider the question, “Are my expectations of this person or situation unreasonable?” Often, someone actually does sin and communicate or act wrongly. After all, they are imperfect as well. However, if I’m honest with myself, usually the latter is the case. Again Tripp reminds us, “You are your biggest communication problem.”
My unreasonable expectations are why I’m frequently arrogant, disappointed, depressed, angered, bitter, confused, and standoffish. When we have unreasonably high expectations in communication or with relationships in general, these emotions always rear their ugly head. These emotions, in turn, usually always lead to negative communication with the other person. We become purposefully hurtful, vague, shady, or even worse, we just plain ignore them.
What’s the solution to this problem? If you think about it, how often do you live up to your own expectations? The answer for myself is almost never. If I fail to keep my standards every day, how can I ever expect someone who’s not me to keep them? More than that, we must understand that we have failed to meet God’s expectations and requirements. Nevertheless, he has forgiven us because the only perfect man, Jesus Christ, has clearly communicted who God is and how we can can him. And he has accomplished this for us through his atoning work for our sins on the cross.
The short answer is cling to Jesus, confess your sin of faulty communication (and everything else!), and seek to change your intentions, thoughts, actions, and words by the power of God’s grace. For the long answer, check back in a week for our last post in this series.