Part 6 of a 6 part series. View series intro and index.

Let’s have a short review of everything we’ve discussed over the past six weeks about our communication.  We assume the worst about people and assume they know what we are thinking.  We communicate differently than our neighbors, our friends, and the opposite gender because we are all from different cultures.  We tend to withhold important truths, manipulate facts, or change the subject.  We want to avoid talking to people face-to-face because it’s uncomfortable.  We have unreasonable expectations and therefore, become greatly disappointed in others.

That’s a pretty dismal pedigree.  All of these things happen because of something called sin.  It lives in us—even Christians—and it wreaks havoc on our relationships.  Listen to James, the brother of Jesus, talk about why we have problems with other people:

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you?  Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?  You desire and you do not have, so you murder.  You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.  You do not have because you do not ask.  You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions (4:1-3).

Jesus Christ has perfectly spoken on God’s behalf to the world.  And in turn, he has perfectly spoken to God on our behalf as our advocate (1 John 2:2).  That same passage in 1 Timothy says that Jesus “gave himself as a ransom for all” (v. 6).  If haven’t received Christ by faith as the ransom for your sinful life—communication pitfalls included—to obtain peace before God (Rom. 5:1), then you will never experience peace with others.  Sure, there might be superficial peace and joy and it might seem great.  But if you haven’t addressed your greatest problem—your own sinful self—all your other problems will never get solved.

Quality communication with the people around us really can happen.  You don’t have to be a communicative failure.  Things can never be perfect, of course.  But the gospel of Jesus Christ doesn’t exist just to save you from hell and damnation.  It exists to bring restoration between us and God and also to every area of life—especially relationships with others.

In the gospel, we find forgiveness on God’s part and repentance on ours.  In your life, you will have to do both with people, and if you can sincerely live this out with others, I trust that God will bring healing and redemption to your all of your relationships.

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3 thoughts on “Pitfalls in Communication: Sin

  1. Does it go the other way as well? Meaning: do you also need to be at peace with others in order to be at peace with God? Matthew 5:23-24 seems to me to suggest this. (23 Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, 24 leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/matthew/matthew5.htm) These verses reminds me a little of a teaching of my religion, Judaism, which is that you can only obtain forgiveness from the one against whom you sinned. So, you can ask God to forgive sins against God, but if you have sinned against another person, you must ask that person directly. One of the most important apects of the 10 days from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur, every year, is to ask forgiveness from anyone you have wronged in the preceding year. Once you have done this, on Yom Kippur you can make peace with God. The peace that results from this is not something that I would call superficial.

  2. Cheryl,

    I think that honestly we sin against so many people that there’s no possible way to ask for forgiveness from everyone. But I agree that if we are unwilling to ask for forgiveness from others and are also unwilling to be forgiving, God will not forgive us. Of course, I’m a Christian, and Jesus says, “You must be born again to see the kingdom of God” (John 3:5, 7). Therefore, in order to be truly forgiven by God, you must believe in and thus receive Christ as the sacrifice and payment for your sins.

    If Jesus is not one’s Savior, they have not been forgiven of anything, because the book of Hebrews says, “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (10:4), and “He has no need, like those [old covenant] high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself” (7:27).

    Furthermore, on the flipside of the forgiveness coin, Matthew 6:15 says, “If you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” So also if we don’t forgive others, God won’t forgive us–for anyone who loves God must also love his brother (1 John 4:21). This is an evidence of new birth–not the only one, but it is one. If you have been forgiven by God for all the evil you do, then you will be willing to forgive others for the evil they do against you. Even Christians, mind you, don’t do this perfectly, but it is something that we, by the Holy Spirit’s power, strive for.

  3. So true. I have had an issue with forgiveness lately:

    This past year I have worked a lot and have been out of the loop with the people at my church. I have felt left out… like a misfit (There were a few people who I noticed were being a little rude to me for not being able to give 100% to church functions,). I found myself griping about people who I went to church with which led me to participate less and less. I didn’t realize until after reading, “The Missing Link,” by Drs. Richard & Phyllis Arno, how unacceptable my behavior has been. Looking back I realize that because of my hurt feelings, I too was really rude to a lot of people myself. I want to get back to church to fellowship with the people in my church, and I feel that the I need to ask forgiveness for my behavior- I have already forgiven them for theirs.

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