Every once in a while, I come across a post on social media that shares examples of text messages gone wrong. Usually, it’s a parent sending a message to their child. Here is an example of one that I recently saw between a mom and her son.
Mom: Your great aunt just passed away. LOL.
Son: Why is that funny?
Mom: It’s not funny, David. What do you mean?
Son: Mom, LOL means Laughing Out Loud.
Mom: Oh, my goodness. I sent that to everyone. I thought it meant Lots of Love. I have to call everyone back.
I’ll admit, I often make text errors. Usually, it is that darn “text to talk” feature that I use. I am sure you can relate. The truth, though, is it goes beyond texting. Communication, no matter the form, is complicated.
Over the weekend, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder pointed out some of the complications we experience when communicating. Sometimes we flat out say the wrong thing. Other times, we say the right thing, but we say it in the wrong way. Or, we say one thing, and something entirely different is heard. Sometimes we’d have been better off saying nothing at all.
The words we choose are powerful. They can tear down and hurt others, or they can encourage and build up others. The average person uses 16,000 words a day, giving numerous opportunities for miscommunication. That is why we need to think about the words we use so that they are received the way we intend them.
Ben introduced us to the book I Said This, You Heard That, by Kathleen Edelman. In her book, she gives us a framework from which to view all communication—our temperament. In her book, she shares that your temperament determines the words you speak and how you receive the words others speak. Your temperament is what comes most naturally to you. It is like your first language.
In this given framework, there are four temperaments – Video:
Sanguine: (Yellow) – People and Fun – Hates to be alone – Enthusiastic – Popular – Affectionate – Joyful – Loud – Interrupts.
Choleric: (Red) – Power and Control – Bossy – Confident – Driven – Self Directed – Quick-tempered – Impatient – Decisive
Melancholic: (Blue) – Order and Perfection – Enjoys solitude – Cautious – Perfectionist – Empathetic – Creative – Moody – Critical
Phlegmatic: (Green) – Calm and Harmony – Tolerant – Easy going – Patient – No sense of urgency – Kind – Diplomatic – Indecisive – Stubborn
Learning which one you are will help you understand yourself better. And knowing the temperaments of others will help you know the words you should choose when communicating with them. Learning these two things will change your relationships for the better and help you live out this series’ theme verse.
Ephesians 4:29 NIV
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Let’s let this series be the beginning of thinking differently about the words we choose, and let’s commit to using helpful words to build each other up as God calls us to.
What is your temperament?
What is something new you learned about yourself?
With whom can you share the results of your temperament test, and who would you like to invite to take the test?
If you haven’t taken the test yet, take a few moments today to complete it. You can access it by texting “colors” to 419-419-0707.
Share your results with someone close to you.
For more videos, extras, and parenting resources, download the free “I Said This, You Heard That” app by North Point Ministries.
Dear God, I praise you because you created each person as special and unique. Our differences are complex and beautiful. Over these next few weeks, please help me to grow in my understanding of myself and others. Help me to see how our temperaments affect words, and help me to be someone who builds up people and never tears them down. Thank you for your love. In Jesus’ name, amen.
This post was written by Ben Bockert. Ben is a proud husband and father of three beautiful daughters. He is honored to serve as the Director of the LivingItOut Bible Study.
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