My dad was one of the greatest men I’ve known. He and mom had ten children and he worked amazingly hard to provide for us all. Seldom did I ever see him work less than 60 hours a week, yet he was still there for us as a father! He was such a great dad!
He could do a lot of things but construction and working with tools was not one of them. He’d joke about it and we’d laugh with him because it was so true. Anything that me and my siblings wanted to learn about tools and working with our hands, we had to learn from someone else.
I had a desire to learn to work with my hands and did learn a few things by the time I was a young adult, but learning to make cuts with wood and wood trim was not one of them. I could butt up to straight edges together and nail them but that was about it. And I never had the tools to do much else. But, I did have a friend—Don, that was amazing with wood. He is a finish carpenter and can work with any tool, any piece of wood, and can do just about anything including making the most beautiful crown molding and intricate cuts and pieces with wood of anyone I’ve ever seen.
As I was up early praying this morning with Renee, something made me think about all this. I had said something to her that she misunderstood. I just let her response go and redirected the conversation back on track. That is something we have both learned to do.
In the beginning days of our marriage, we were very unskillful in how we communicated. It reminded me of only being skilled enough to butt up two square pieces of wood to each other. Anything more complicated and our conversation often went astray. It was filled with misunderstanding and defensiveness which led to arguments and fights. We were highly unskilled at listening to and communicating with each other. Those early years were much rougher than they needed to be.
Then one day the Lord caught my heart with the words from James 3:2 (NLT) “Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.” When I read these words, the Lord began to speak to me about how important it is to communicate effectively. Jame also said this in James 1:19 (NLT.) “Understand this…You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.”
This instruction from James given by the inspiration of God is life-changing and I knew it. It was like learning to make cuts with wood. It would take practice! My friend taught me a few cuts but I’ll never be the finish carpenter he is without doing what he does continuously. I don’t have that luxury. But I do talk every day—with my wife and others and so I knew I did have the opportunity to become a finish carpenter of words! And if I did, James said, “For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.” James was saying that success with words would lead to a greater success in every other area of our life.
Since that day early on in our marriage, it’s been my goal. Have I become a better communicator? Have I become a better husband and man in other areas? Renee would say absolutely yes! But this challenge also seems to be a Mt. Everest without a peak you can reach. But I’ll keep trying.
Today, Renee and I have wonderful conversation 99 percent of the time. Why? Because we have become skillful in this area. You might wish I had give more pointers here but the truth is, there is more than enough to help you practice with what I wrote. And of all things worthy of your effort, this is it! Learn to listen well and be slow to speak. Make your goal getting your words right without creating offense. If you do, and it won’t be easy, it will be one of the greatest and most exciting challenges you’ll ever take on. The Holy Spirit will help you if you lean on Him. And it will produce unfathomable fruit in your life! So go for it! Become that finish carpenter of words and be blessed beyond imagination!
James 3:2 (NLT) “…For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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