Engaging in communication

The only way of solving problems in this world is through communication. Fighting should be regarded as primitive, as all problems of humanity are solved through communication. In a marital environment, one of the spouses, deciding, either to quit or injure his/her partner, would be having something to hide.

The same applies to a nation whose leader resorts to war against negotiations. The principle of communication was initiated through Jesus. Understandably, not all are Christians, to be expected to appreciate the principle of communication, but Christians are expected to lead the way.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him, nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:1-5 NIV).

It is extremely unnecessary to fantasize about the meaning of the above passage of Scripture, where the term Word is personalized. That term is intended to represent the significance of communication. When removing the personalization of the term “Word,” for “communication,” the structure clarifies the significance.

[In the beginning, was communication and communication was with God, and communication was God. Communication was with God in the beginning. Through Communication all things were made; without communication, nothing was made that has been made. In communication was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it] (John 1:1-5 NIV).

Of the two renditions, which one makes sense? It should not be surprising that others would suggest that the second rendition attempts to mislead people. But no one can dispute the veracity that communication is effective in settling disputable matters. This implies putting reason where there would be unreasonableness.

In simplified terms, communication implies exchanging data or information between entities, in order to solve problems. When applied according to its formula, like lubrication, communication resolves all disputable matters. A mechanical engine cannot function without lubrication.

The structure of the engine can be ruined when attempting to mobilize it without lubrication. The engine would knock and stop functioning forthwith. Automobile engineers fully appreciate the significance of lubrication. The friction generated, caused by not applying lubrication on an automobile engine, can be too drastic to imagine. The same applies to humanity.

People need communication with one another, to be able to relate well. There is no reason for fighting, where each side seeks to enforce its own interests. Currently, nuclear weapons are paraded by those, said to be powerful nations of our modern civilization.

People are divided between those supporting the Western nations, against those from the East. In their naivety, most Africans prefer siding with Russia, although accused of being an aggressor against Ukraine. They do not even know what drives them to side with the Russians.

Nuclear war cannot be regarded casually. It threatens the survival of humanity, where no one can be a winner. This leads to the simple question of why civilized nations fail to see such simplicities. What is it that causes them to fail to engage in communication with one another?

The refusal to engage in communication results from assuming to be right, when regarding the other side to be wrong. This stems from egotism, making the other person wrong when failing to see one’s viewpoint.

This can be observed even in young children playing games, being the only sin that Jesus came to dispose of. Without egotism, there would be peace in the world. All other problems are a result of egotism, where other people’s opinions do not matter much.

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel” (John 1:29-31 NIV).

John the Baptist was referring to the Son of Man. The sin of the world that John the Baptist was referring to was egotism, with which, communication is impossible. Egotism is the saturation that has prevented humanity from accessing life, throughout the ages.

The Son of Man represented communication, existing from the beginning of humanity. The mechanics of implementing communication involves listening, more than the idea of wanting to project one’s own idea. James aptly put it when suggesting the importance of willingness to listen.

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do” (James 1:19-25 NIV).

God’s Word is the standard, by which disputable matters can be handled. Therefore, where there are disputable matters, it takes the one who understands God’s word to then be responsible for facilitating understanding. The purpose of communication is intended for understanding, thereby settling disputable matters.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) Out of his fullness, we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known (John 1:14-18 NIV).

Here is shown the idea of communication (the Word) becoming flesh and making his dwelling among us. In our inability to communicate, we procure excuses for not communicating with our adversaries. The people of the entire world have held to this problem from time immemorial. Therefore, there is a need to pay attention to the original communication that became flesh, so we can easily relate to it.

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. (Matthew 16:21-25 NIV).

The above passage of Scripture highlights an aspect of communication that had never been understood by humanity. The people who sought to kill Jesus were not communicators. They did not understand the principle of communication. Jesus had the idea of communication. Therefore, we have to take it from His experience to understand what communication entails.

Peter attempted to stop Jesus from providing the disciples with a lesson on the principle of communication. Bear in mind that communication is of God and it is God. Hence, Jesus highlighted this by retorting: “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

Human concerns are basically to protect self-interests. Therefore, in trying to be on Jesus’ side, seeking to meet the concerns of humanity, Peter was Jesus’ stumbling block. Humanly speaking, there was nothing wrong with Peter’s suggestion. If anything, he would be commended for fighting in Jesus’ corner. This arises from being unaware of what is stated in James.

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires” (James 1:19-20).

This idea of communication stems from the principle of doing unto others as one would like them to do unto him. It does not require the other person to also appreciate it. It burdens the informed person to carry the responsibility. This is what Peter could not understand when rebuked by Jesus, yet being one of the apostles.

The fact that the one without understanding is not invested in knowledge does not mean the communicator ought to behave like him. Humanly speaking, it is impossible to bear that kind of responsibility. But that is exactly what Jesus did. His followers are expected to follow in his footsteps.

“Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:13-18 NIV).

The principle of communication implies getting into the shoes of the other person, desiring to understand him, before, advancing one’s own interests. Loving men, when proposing marriage, would understand this principle, perfectly well. It takes only a callous man to impose his own will on a woman he proposes to marry. Otherwise, a principled man would seek to understand the woman’s interests, before attending to his own.

When looking at the developments leading to Jesus’ crucifixion one can notice that Jesus never compromised righteousness. He remained resolute, when standing for the truth, but without violently opposing His adversaries. His followers are expected to do the same. The world needs the principle of communication more than anything else.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:17-20 NIV).

One cannot talk about reconciliation without bringing in, the aspect of communication. Unless willing to communicate with people of diverse backgrounds, how can one be effective in disseminating the message of reconciliation? This invalidates the idea of being judgmental.

An effective communicator is a good listener, before seeking to be understood. He understands the other person’s concerns, before advancing his workable ideas. In other words, that person seeks to understand people, before those people can understand him. The more we could have such people on this planet, the more at peace this world would be.

What readers can take home, from this presentation is that the origin of communication is God. Jesus was presented as the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of humanity. His idea of submitting to His adversaries facilitates our understanding of the principle of communication. This entails listening before one can then advance one’s own interests.

Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. Most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope, in a simple conversational tone.

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