11-4-15 Bridging the Communicational Gap
You may ask, "How do I encourage spiritual conversations? As we involve ourselves in a burden bearing ministry, it provides an excellent opportunity to develop friendship, enlarge the relational bond, and clearly understand the known language of the listener. As we desire to address spiritual issues, there is a communicational gap that must be crossed,
What is the communicational gap to be bridged? Understanding the culture of crisis will assist in the answer to that question. Very often, in crisis, the individual is overwhelmed with the stresses of the crisis event. The focus is primarily on the resolution of the physical "problem", whatever that may be. The responses to that event or circumstances are viewed by the onlooker as being anything other than quietness and confidence.
A good picture of that is seen in Matthew 14:30. Peter was drowning due to his wrong focus on the waves. Aware of his physical plight, and paralyzed by his fearful response, he looked to Jesus, and cried out, "Lord, save me".
Spiritual issues are always the most important to God and should be the most important to us, in order to help someone in great difficulty. In order to see biblical change, the awareness is first the outer man issue of danger, then the human struggling issue of fear, then to the inner man issue of biblical decision making.
As we cooperate with God in assisting another with those progressive steps to be taken, we may:
1) Speak to their focus on the trial
2) Address the predictable result of fear
3) Explain the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
in repentance and faith to the unbelieving, and the all sufficient grace of God to His redeemed children
(2 Corinthians 12:9).
Remember when initially coming to the point of "I don't know what to say", first ask yourself where you believe they are, spiritually. Then remind yourself to have genuine interest in their life, and think of the progressive approach Christ used in John 4 with the woman at the well, as seen in His CONTACT, CONVERSATION, COMMUNICATION, then CONFRONTATION.
Any time there is CONTACT by phone or visit with an individual in crisis, there is the
others - focused opportunity to CONVERSE at their life-level, talking about everyday things.
It is the compassionate heart of Christ that seeks to discern the deeper heart struggles and COMMUNICATE at a deeper level that is often hidden from common knowledge. As they are willing to share with you, ask the question "What would you say is your greatest struggle in all of this?" The answer will open wide the door of opportunity to CONFRONT and speak specifically to those deep needs of the soul.
Thereafter, the Holy Spirit of God takes the Word of God that has been sown, and CONVICTS, CONVERTS, and CONFORMS them.
How would this look in practicality?
1. Send cards and texts, and make phone calls that assure them of your love and
2. Demonstrate genuine interest in the physical burdens that they are bearing.
3. Ask sensitive questions in the physical arena, to help you better understand their situation.
4. Ask them " In all of this, what seems to be your greatest struggle?" Their
answer will help you to understand their deep heart need.
5. Bridging the communicational gap occurs at this specific juncture. Your
response to that answer can be one that reiterates the problem, and redirects
the solution to God.
A transitional conversation might be something such as:
" In all of this, what seems to be your greatest struggle?"
"I'm so worried about how we're going to pay all of these bills."
"I can only imagine how overwhelming that must seem to you right now, but God
sees and cares, and wants to quiet your heart as you work through one
step at time, with His help.....does that make sense to you?"
" Oh, I don't know..........."
"Let me see if I can help you understand....
In the beginning, God made us for Himself..........."
(At this juncture, the dialogue would change to either an explanation of the gospel's saving grace
if an unbeliever OR an explanation of the sustaining grace of our Lord Jesus Christ if a believer.)
Bridging the communicational gap involves thinking, walking and talking biblically. God's Word is the reason
of the hope that is within us and is the ONLY satisfaction to the human heart.
(c) 1992, 2015 N. A. Collins Limited copy permission for one personal file copy