Communication and the All-Important Emoji
Colossians 4:6 “Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”
Our speech has a power beyond imagination. Things we say can often open or shut the door of a person’s soul. But this powerful force is more than just the words we say. Real communication is driven by attitude expressed in body language, facial expression, and tone of voice.
It’s funny how the most benign statements can take on new meaning when paired with a sarcastic tone. Anyone with a relationship conflict experience can attest to this. The wise person takes the time needed to get a negative attitude under control before facing a tense situation. Then words and actions are chosen carefully if the intent is to resolve the problem.
The difficulty our culture is now experiencing is that much conversation – good or bad – is not taking the form of spoken words. With the advent of texting many are choosing to have important conversations hidden behind a smart phone. This is not a wise move.
Recently, while responding to general question posed to me by text, Abigail, who was looking over my shoulder, chided me. “Mom, use an emoji or more punctuation! The person is going to think you are mad at them if you don’t.”
Really!! I never realized the importance of the emoji character until then. When you don’t speak face to face with someone they can’t read the unspoken signs to see if you are joking, serious, or being sarcastic; hence, the smiley face, laughing face, confused face, angry face, the thumbs up, or a variety of other characters to help get your real feelings across. Misunderstanding is compounded by the fact that with texting we are expected to respond immediately. If busy the quick OK (or just K) response may leave the person unsure of your real feelings as they are unaware of the unrelated project or mess you may be dealing with at the moment.
The Bible reminds us how important our speech in all walks of life can be. The Apostle Paul asked the Colossians to pray that God would open a door for him to speak God’s word to those who hadn’t heard it before. He wanted to make the message he was trying to convey very clear, and he understood the importance of using words filled with grace to gently season the meat of the salvation message.
We also need great wisdom in knowing how to respond to those around us if we want to show the example God wants us to have. This takes prayer, wisdom, and much thought. Spend time with God making sure your own attitude is in alignment with His. Ask for open doors for spiritual conversations and then speak face to face with people as much as possible. Let the love of Jesus shine through every word, every facial expression, your body language and tone of voice. These conversations may just be what opens or shuts a person’s soul. And our responses, empowered by the Holy Spirit, may guide a friend or neighbor to accept the Lord into their lives.
So remember . . . let your speech always be with grace . . . and if you must respond by text, be sure to use the all-important emoji.:-)