By Janet L. Smith, March 4, 2010
When I stop communicating with God, my relationship with him stops. The same is true with people. When communication between people stops, so does their relationship. God never cuts us off, so if the relationship needs repair, the burden is on me to reopen the lines of communication with God. I simply ask him to restore in me the joy of loving him. The process of repairing a broken relationship between people however, means that both sides will have to risk communicating again. Obviously, the relationship will not be repaired if only one side is willing to risk communication and the other side remains closed, negatively biased, and unwilling to communicate. For the purposes of this article, we will assume that both sides of a broken relationship have purposed in their hearts to risk communicating again with the hope and intent of repairing the relationship.
Perspective is the key essential ingredient in effective communication. Perspective defined is, “a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something.” I can ask myself, “how do I want to be regarded in this relationship? Do I want to be viewed by what the other person perceives as wrong with me or do I want them to view me as Jesus sees and loves me?” Matthew 7:12 says, “so in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” If I hope the person(s) on the other side of this broken relationship will change their perspective of me, I must be willing to change my perspective of them. And the only way I can change my perspective of someone is if I can see them differently than I have seen them in the past.
Ask to See as Jesus Sees
Jesus sees past the temporary, imperfect, work-in-progress me and relates to me as his eternal family member whom he purchased at great price with his own shed blood on the cross. I Samuel 16:7 says, “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” And Jesus asks me to look at others as he does. If we really want to see as Jesus sees, he will first show us how much he loves us. The revelation of God’s love for us becomes authenticated when we turn and love others. We turn and love others by letting go of our wounded, opinionated, self-centered and competitive perspective of others and give them the same honor that Jesus gives them. This fresh perspective produces within us a square one, fresh-start “attitude toward and way of regarding” others.
We will literally stop relating to people based on our bent and wounded perspective and start relating to them through what we perceive as good and beautiful in them. As we honor the Spirit of Prophecy within us, which is the testimony of Jesus, we will be empowered to give greater honor to God and greater honor to people. How well we know God’s love for us will be evidenced in the overflow of love and honor we are able to give othersâ€”even the undeserving. We will naturally extend the truth of God’s kindness to people instead of competing with them through withdrawal, rejection, malice, and slander. We will bless others instead of cursing and criticizing them. By the Spirit of God’s love in us, we will literally see the goodness of Jesus in people and his lovesick view of their heartâ€”even when we perceive that they are buried under lies and unbelief in their struggle to know God’s love for themselves.
Changing our Perspective Builds TRUST
By basing our communication exclusively upon the truth of how Jesus sees us, we will, in union with the love of God, speak the language of his love. Luke 6:45 says, “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” If we insist on viewing each other through the unifying Spirit of Truth, saturated in God’s affirming love, our negative perspective of others WILL CHANGE and become like Jesus’. Because we believe the good of God in others and the good of God in ourselves, we will by nature, speak the language of Love. And this love is the foundation upon which TRUST is rebuilt. When trust has been restored to a relationship, the relationship has been repaired and the risk taken to communicate again was well worth it.