John Hagee - The Power of Communication
What is communication? The Bible is a book of clear communication. It says, "Thou shall not lie. Thou shall not commit adultery. Thou shall not steal. Thou shall not use the name of the Lord thy God in vain. You shall not have any other Gods before me. You shall do no murder. You shall not bear false witness". I'm going to ask you something: what part of "Thou shalt not" don't you get? People say, "I don't really understand the Bible". It's not difficult if you would read it. The Bible says, "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people". The Bible says, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. They shall prosper that love you".
This is a very profound book about communication. It's a communication that is impossible to become confused. The Bible says, this is so simple that a fool cannot err therein. Yet, there are a lot of people with PhD's that can't read it: that don't read it: that misunderstand it when they do read it. Any communication can be twisted. Saint Paul wrote to the New Testament church, "I would not have you ignorant, brethren". Or you can say the same words this way: I would not have you, ignorant brethren. Same words: just a twist. We have developed communication systems that permit men on the earth to talk to people walking on the moon: yet, we have a situation in America where husbands can't talk to their wives, mothers can't talk to their daughters, fathers can't talk to their sons across the table in their own house. Why? Their faces are buried in cell phones, in computer games.
Hello. Those things should not be at your kitchen table. Nothing should rob you of your communication with your children. Problems and differences in a marriage, in a family, your business, are not dangerous. But not being able to openly communicate about those problems is very dangerous. Communication is giving your partner the freedom to disagree with you completely without you flying into a rage or pouting or sulking for a week. Christians don't lie, but they pout. They do. Communication is when you and I, as husband and wife, can honestly tell each other who we are, what we want, how we feel, what we love, what we honor, what we esteem, what we hate, what we fear, what we desire, what we hope for, what we believe in, what we're committed to. And then, only then, can we be a person, because until you know how I feel and are willing to accept that, we've got a problem.
Husbands and wives are often riddled with insecurity. And insecure people are dogmatic people. If you're someone who can never be wrong, you just can't be wrong: you're too emotionally weak to allow anyone to disagree with you. Let me say this in the kindest way that I can. You are an emotional Hitler. If you demand that your wife or husband agree with you in everything, you are denying them their emotional and intellectual life. He or she will have an emotional breakdown or they'll get a divorce to save their sanity. But they're not going to stay married to you, because that is not a long-term operation.
There's a medical fact: your deep feelings will be expressed or you will explode. It's been explained like trying to take a beach ball and hold it under water, a large beach ball. You can wrestle with it. You can move it here. You can move it there. But eventually it's going to pop up at the top. All of your deep-seeded emotions that are not expressed, are sooner or later, going to erupt. This is very important. Why is it important to your communication? Because you are not a stone statue. You are in a constant state of emotional and physical change. Every person here is in the process of change. A husband said, "Oh, I know that my wife is always changing her mind". Let me tell you: men change their mind as much as women do.
The first principle of communication is this: if I expose my emotional nakedness to you as a person, do not make me feel ashamed. Do not make me feel foolish. Oh, I'm going to continue to talk to you, but I'm never going to tell you how I really feel deep in my soul, again. And that's what communication is. The second communication killer is the lack of honesty. You twist the facts until they are compatible to your prejudices or to your point of view. A third communication killer is angry explosion. Psychologist, Dr. Henry Brandt, says, "No nakedness is quite as emotional as psychological nakedness". A fourth communication killer is tears. This weapon is mostly used by women. Although some men I know have used it very effectively. You're saying, "Don't tell me my shortcomings or I'll cry". The first spat after marriage, she turns on the water works. She teaches the new husband, don't you go beyond this line or I'll cry. Communication stops.
Then on her part, control begins. It's manifested by manipulation, by domination, by intimidation, which the Bible calls witchcraft. Ouch! Why? Because if you're not in control: you're beside yourself with rage. That is not emotionally, nor spiritually healthy. You need to stop it, in Jesus' name! The fifth communication killer is exaggeration. How many of you know people who exaggerate? A six-year-old boy ran into the house, screaming, "Mother, there's a cat in the backyard that's as big as a lion"! And the mother said, "Calm down. If I've told you once, I've told you a hundred times: stop exaggerating. Now go to your room and ask the Lord to help you stop this exaggeration problem you have". He went into his room. Ten minutes later, he came out. And the mother said, "Well, what happened"? The son said, "Well I talked to God about it. And he told me the first time he saw that cat, he thought it was a lion too".
Seven steps to effective communication. Employ the Ezekiel method of communication. Communicate with empathy is to feel another person's problem, not sympathy. Empathy is you feel for another person by experience of their crisis, meaning you have experienced exactly what they're experiencing: therefore, you can have empathy. But you haven't experienced exactly that: you can have sympathy but not empathy. Never walk into a home where a child has been taken, and say, "I know what you're going through". That is the dumbest thing you can say. You don't know that unless you've had a child that was taken. The best thing you can do is wrap your arms around the people that you love and hold them, and hug them, and say, "I love you and I'm here for you". But don't ever say something foolish like, "I know what you're going through".
Ezekiel, in the third chapter, said, "I sat where they sat". What was he talking about? He was talking about a concentration camp of Jewish people in exile in Babylon. They had just become slaves. Babylon had gone into Israel and taken them into captivity. They were now refugees of war. They'd lost their homes. They'd lost their freedom. They had lost their destiny, their hope. David said, "They sat down and wept when they remembered Zion", meaning Jerusalem. Ezekiel wanted to communicate with them so he sat where they sat. God said, if you're going to speak to those people, you go down there where they are and you stay where they are. Who wants optimism from an armed-chair quarterback? Who wants glib words of wisdom from a long-haired prophet, who has no scars on his back?
So Ezekiel became a captive. He went down to live with the Jewish people in captivity. He let the blows of humiliation that they were experiencing, become his. He looked at the world through their eyes. He felt what they felt. And it changed his point of view from a point of ministry. The fact: husbands and wives can communicate with this very principle of seeing it from their point of view. As a boss, sometimes you need to look at something from your employee's point of view. As a counselor, that's a good thing to do.
One of the most dramatic marriage counseling sessions I had many years ago when I was still doing this was this Ezekiel message. A husband had little appreciation for his wife, who was taking care of three small children without any help in a crowded house. So I said to him: I called him by name. I said, "Why don't you see it from her point of view? Why don't you sit where she sits? Why don't you choose one day, just any day, and stay home all day with three of these small children, and you clean the house. You wash the dishes. Mop the floors. You wash and iron the clothes. You change the diapers. You potty train this little guy you've got right here. He needs it. Answer the phone. Go get the groceries. And when your wife comes home at 5:30, look as fresh as a daisy. Have a rose in your teeth, and have the hot breath of passion in both of your eyes". He looked at me like I was insane. He said, "You can't be serious". I said, "Look: one day, John Wayne. Just one day, do it".
I lost him. He went and found another counselor. Think about it. "I sat where they sat". You don't really know how it is until you see it from their perspective. I think doctors are wonderful people. In the past few years of my life, I've seen more of them than I want to. But I think every doctor should be sick just once, and admitted to the hospital where he works under the name of John doe, to escape the Messiah complex, to experience the joy of some female ironsides, aka nurse walking into your room at 4 o'clock in the morning, sticking a six-inch needle in your behind, and it ricochets off your hipbone, and says, "Are you resting well"?
There's a classic prayer, "Oh Lord, help me to never judge another person until I have walked in their shoes for two weeks". Have you ever watched people walk down the street and pass a real beggar with a tin cup? I'm not talking about some millennial dude that's too lazy to work. I'm talking about somebody that really needs help. Watch the people that give. The silk-stocking crowd will walk by him. But the blue-collar people will help him, because they know what it feels to need something and can't get it. It may not be much, but they'll give it to them. One of the dumbest things you can say in the hour of another person's feeling is, "I know how you feel". You can't possibly unless you've experienced exactly that.
Two, communicate with compassion. Compassion is transmitted through touch. There are 60.000 neurological endings in your hand. Did you know that? Jesus touched people with his hands. Touching is powerful. Touch is the magic wand of intimacy. I'm going to say that again, "Touch is the magic wand of intimacy". One touch is worth a thousand words. In the rat race of life, don't get too busy to touch, to hold, to hug your children, your wife, your husband, the people you love. I do that every day. When I see my kids, so they're 50, I'm still hugging them. Success in marriage is more than finding the right person. Success in marriage is being the right person, you being the right person. One does not find happiness in marriage. But they take happiness into marriage. If you're not happy when you get married, believe me: changes are coming. Changes are coming.
There are times in every marriage when tears become a language of their own, and words are too feeble to convey your feelings. When compassion expressed in silence embraces the best, and when all of the beautiful words in the world weigh less than a single act of love, no cord or cable can hold as tightly as love's compassion with a single thread. Of all the music that reaches highest in the heaven, it is the beating of two hearts that love each other. There, the angels of God come and live in that house, because Jesus Christ so loved the world that he came to the earth to sit where you sit, to sit where you sit, to sit where you sit, to feel what you feel.
Why do we pray to God, the father, in Jesus' name? Think about it. The answer is because Jesus is the only person in heaven who knows how a human being feels! He came to earth and became a human! He was a minority, hated as a Jewish person. He was rejected. He was criticized. He was betrayed by his friends, Judas and Peter. He was falsely accused by the church and the state. The church says he's a heretic, he's a drunkard, he's a demonized teacher. The state says he's an insurrectionist too dangerous to live. He was physically abused. He was beaten. He was crucified. He was murdered by the state, although he was innocent. So stop whining about, "No one understands me". Oh, yes, they do. Jesus, the Son of God, he understands you! Talk to him about it! He knows what you're going through!
Thirdly, communicate with love. The Bible says, Ephesians 4:15, "Speak the truth in love". Say that with me. "Speak the truth in love"! Say it one more time. "Speak the truth in love". Nothing improves your wife's hearing like the sound of praise. Proverbs 31:28, "Her husband rises up and he praises her". Husbands, do you praise your wife? "Well, once 20 years ago: you know. I figured she could figure it out: if I wasn't happy, I'd tell her". Are you as courteous to your wife as you are the next door neighbor? Is it more natural for you to complain rather than to compliment? You don't have the right to complain until you, first, compliment. And all the ladies said... All compliments should be public. All complaints should be private, very private. The more truth you speak, the more love you should convey. truth is like a two-edged toward. Be careful how you handle it when you're approaching your wife, or your husband, or someone else.
Fourthly, allow for a reaction time. Remember you've had the advantage of thinking about what you're going to say, how you're going to prepare your speech. You've pondered it in your mind. You've gotten his or her reactions. You've said, "If he says this, I'm going to say that. If he says this, I'll say that". Mentally, you rehearse it, counter point, point, counter point, point, counter point. And when they walk through the doors, boom! You've taken him or her by surprise. Don't be at all surprised if they go and come back an hour later and said, "Nah, no, no, no, no, no. We're not doing that", because he's now had a time to think about it. Don't say, "You promised while ago". You bushwhacked him while ago. You bushwhacked her while ago.
Step five, pray together and for each other. The Bible says, "Don't let the sun go down on your wrath". Say that with me. "Don't let the sun go down on your wrath". Do you know how hard it is to pray for your spouse when you're truly angry with them? Hello. Share the details. I thought about leaving this out of my sermon because of my wife. I hate details about a conversation. My wife wants details to the IMPTH degree. "How was your day"? "It was wonderful". "What happened after you left the house? Who'd you talk to on the phone? Did they talk long? Were they happy? Were they mad"? Swoosh. It's been estimated that in a 24-hour day, the average woman has 30.000 words to use. The average man speaks 10.000 words. The man goes to work, he uses his 10.000 words. When he comes home in the evening, he's out of words! She's just warming up when you walk through the door!
Lastly, communicate by listening. The first duty of love is to listen. Say that with me. The first duty of love is to listen. God gave you one mouth and two ears. The message: listening is twice as important as talking. Listen to your children. Listen to this poem. "Take a moment to listen today to what your children are trying to say. Listen today whatever you do or they won't be there to listen to you. Listen to their problems. Listen to their needs. Praise their smallest triumphs. Praise their smallest deeds. Tolerate their chatter. Amplify their laughter. Find out what's the matter. Find out what they're after. Tell them that you love them every single night. And though you scold them, be sure you hold them tight. And tell them everything's all right, and tomorrow is looking bright. Take a moment to listen today to what your children are trying to say. Listen today whatever you do. And they will come back to talk to you".
Can we stand together? How many of you in this room can say, pastor, today there's not good communication in my life or in my marriage. And I want it to be better. And I'm willing to do what's necessary on my part to make it better. If that describes you, would you slip your hand up right where you are? Most of the people in this building right now. Those of you, who are watching by television, you can join us in this prayer because there's no distance to prayer, no distance in prayer. God can bring together that which is broken, that which has been injured. The words that separated you can bring you back together again. Pray this prayer with me.
Heavenly Father, in the authority of Jesus' name, I ask you now to bring an environment of love into my home that's so rich, so pure, so strong: that I can speak to my wife, my wife could speak to me: and that we can speak to our children, and we can speak to those that we love with absolute compassion, with total forgiveness, with moral and spiritual strength. From this day forward, I'm going to let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, o Lord my God, my king, and my redeemer. Give the Lord a shout of praise in the house of God. Bless his name! Bless his name! Bless his name! Amen.