A photographer for a national magazine was assigned to get photos of a forest fire. The photographer tried several times but the smoke was just too thick. So, he asked his boss to hire a plane so he could take aerial photos. Arrangements were made and the photographer was told to go to the local airport where a small plane would be waiting for him. When he arrived, a plane was sitting on the runway warming up the engines. The photographer ran over to the plane, jumped in with his equipment and yelled over to the pilot, “Alright, let’s go!”
The pilot revved up the engine and soon the plane soared into the air. The photographer told the pilot to head north towards the mountains. When they arrived at the forest fire, the photographer said, “Fly as low as you can over the fire and make three or four level passes.” “Why would you want me to do something dangerous like that?” asked the pilot. The photographer responded, "Because I'm going to take pictures. I'm a photographer and photographers take pictures!" After a pause the pilot looked over with a horrified look and said, "You mean you're not the flight instructor?" (SermonIllustrations.com).
This is what one might call “a major miscommunication.” This entire fiasco could have been avoided if either person had communicated at the beginning. Everyone has been guilty of miscommunication at one point or another. Whether it is not saying enough, saying too much, or having the wrong words come out. Good communication is vital in all relationships, even our relationship with the Lord.
Philippians 2 is a great section of Scripture. Here we can learn some great lessons about proper communication:
- Encouragement, love, fellowship, affection, and compassion are essential for unity (vs. 1-2). None of this is possible if these aspects do not show up in our speech.
- Don’t be selfish or conceited, but be humble by putting other above yourself (vs. 3-4). Often miscommunication and hurt feelings come when our words reflect selfishness. However, if our words are helpful then good will be the result. This is how Jesus lived His life (vs. 5-11).
- Don’t grumble and dispute (vs. 14). This only causes problems and negative feelings. Avoiding this type of speech will make us blameless and stand out among our culture (vs. 15).
Sometimes miscommunications are unavoidable. However, if our speech is full of encouragement, love, and other positive qualities instead of selfishness and complaints, we will avoid many forms of miscommunication. But above all else, we will bring glory to God with our words. Let’s take these lessons from Philippians 2 to heart and speak as God wants us to speak. As 1 Peter 4:11 states, “Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”