Speak Every Man

Posted by on Feb 19, 2012

Speak Every Man

“Speak Every Man”

MP3 Version: “Speak Every Man

Scripture Text:   Ephesians 4:23-29

By Pastor Mike Withem
First Baptist Church
Ranson, West Virginia

Introduction:

A. (Illus.- Jack and Christine sat across from their pastor, ready to begin their first counseling session. You could tell that Christine had something on her chest because of the way she sat, with her arms folded and her eyes pointed downward. The pastor noticed this right away and decided to begin his questioning with her. He said, “Christine, I can tell by your body language that something is really bothering you, so why don’t you get us started by telling me exactly what the problem is.” Well, when the pastor said that, the floodgate opened. She looked at him and in the most bitter tone she said, “Pastor, I know that this husband of mine has been cheating on me. I know because he has been taking money from his overtime pay. He has been stealing money and I want to know right now what he has been doing with it!” Jack just sat there in total silence. You could tell by the expression on his face that he was completely dumbfounded by what he was hearing. You see, Christine had known about this for almost five months and had said nothing to her husband. Instead, she had been holding it in and as a result she had been growing more and more bitter every day. Well, having heard this, the pastor turned to Jack and said, “Jack, have you been taking money from your overtime pay, and if so, what have you been doing with it?” After a short pause, Jack slowly reached into his pocket, took out his wallet, dug into a secret compartment and said, “It’s all here,” as he pulled out some folded bills and tossed them on the couch, “You can count it, if you like.” The pastor then said, “Okay, Jack, now that we know where the money went,  tell us what you planned to do with the money?” With tears in his eyes, he said, “Our anniversary is coming up soon, and I’ve been saving it for a surprise romantic get-away for Christine and me.” When Christine heard this, you could tell that she wanted to crawl up under something and hide. She was so embarrassed and so ashamed.)
1. Clearly, something was WRONG with the channels of communication in that marriage.
2. Christine had not only worried herself needlessly,  she was ready to break up her marriage over a total misunderstanding.
3. Because she had failed to communicate her concern initially, the problem only got worse and worse until it landed them both in the pastor’s office for counseling.

B. Now before I say anything else, this morning, let me say this, the scenario that I have just described is not the exception, but rather the RULE.
1. In most marriages today, the channels of communication are either NON-EXISTENT, or they are so CLOGGED that very little information, if any, is getting through.
2. And this is not good.
3. You see, it is absolutely impossible to have a good marriage without good communication between a husband and his wife, and this communication must be a TWO-WAY communication.
4. It doesn’t work if only one partner is communicating with the other.
5. Communication is fundamental to a Christ-centered home, because it is the means by which all relationships within the home grow and are maintained.

C. As we examine our text, this morning, I want us to notice at least three things that ought to be true about the communication that takes place in a marriage. Notice, first of all, this communication should be…

I. Honest.

A. Notice again Vrs. 25 of our text, “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.”
1. Solomon wrote in Prov. 8:7, “For my mouth shall speak truth;”
2. And then again in Prov. 12:17, “He that speaketh truth sheweth forth righteousness:”
3. What do I mean when I say that the communication that takes place in a marriage should be honest?
4. I simply mean that a husband and wife should be both open and honest with one another, that when they communicate, they should communicate the truth and not a lie.

B. For example, they should be honest about their FEELINGS.
1. (Illus.- A missionary and his wife were forced to leave their mission field early because the wife had become severely depressed. When they returned home, she began seeing a psychiatrist on a regular basis, however, it didn’t help and she and her husband continued to grow farther and farther apart. After a few months, someone talked them into seeing a Christian counselor, who insisted that they attend counseling together, as a couple. On their very first visit, the wife opened up and began sharing her feelings. She looked at her husband and said, “My problem is that when I married you, I didn’t love you. In fact, I’ve never loved you, but I’ve never told anyone the truth before now!” Well, that missionary and his wife were able to get the help they needed, and as a result, they not only saved their marriage, but they also returned to the mission field. But that would have never happened had she not been honest about how she felt.)
2. (Illus.- More than once husbands or wives have come to me for advice because their spouses had either said something or done something that had hurt their feelings, sometimes very deeply.  My question to them was always the same, “Have you told your wife or have you told your husband how you feel?” Do you know what their answer was most of the time? Most of the time they said, “No.” When I asked them why not, their answer was almost always the same, they said,“Well, they ought to know how I feel!” Really???)
3. And so, husbands and wives should be honest about their feelings.

C. They should also be honest about their NEEDS.
1. (Illus.- Another complaint that I hear quite often from married people is, “My husband is not meeting my needs,” or “My wife is not meeting my needs,” and I’m sure that a lot of time the complaints are legitimate. However, the question must again be asked, “Have you honestly communicated your needs to your spouse? Do they really know what you need?”)
2. Now when it comes to material needs, it’s usually quite obvious what is needed (not a lot of communication needed here).
3. However, when you are talking about emotional or sexual needs, you need a lot of communication, and it needs to be honest communication.
4. (Illus.- But someone says, “Pastor, it’s hard for me to talk about such intimate things. Well, you have two choices. Either talk about these things, or suffer in silence. It’s up to you!)
5. And so, husbands and wives should be honest about their needs.

D. They should also be honest about their PROBLEMS.
1. Sometimes the problems are ignored altogether.
2. It’s almost as if they think that if they will ignore the problem, it will resolve itself or just go away on it’s own.
3. I assure you, this is almost never the case.
4. The vast majority of marital problems don’t got away on their own, but only get worse with time (so ignoring them is not the answer).
5. Sometimes couples will acknowledge that there is a problem, yet they will downplay or minimize it’s seriousness.
6. This too can be a big mistake.
7. While it is true that some problems are not that serious, other problems, if downplayed or minimized, have the potential of destroying a marriage.
8. And so, husbands and wives should be honest about their problems.

E. What did Paul say? He said, “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour:” (Eph. 4:25)

F. Not only should the communication that takes place in a marriage be honest, it should also be…

II. Timely.

A. Notice again Vrs. 26 of our text, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:”
1. What do I mean when I say that the communication that takes place in a marriage should be timely?
2. I simply mean that when there is a problem in a marriage, when there are disagreements, when there are hurt feelings, when there are words of anger, through honest communication the issues should be resolved as soon as possible, preferably before the end of the day.
3. Listen, it is totally unrealistic to think that a husband and wife are never going to get angry with one another, even when they are madly in love.
4. It’s going to happen.
5. However, what Paul is telling us here is that when it does happen, we shouldn’t compound our sin by letting that anger or the issues that brought it about linger on.
6. Jay Adams put it like this, “Before the close of every day, our hearts should be flushed of all of the bitterness and anger that may have accumulated during the day. Nothing unforgiven, nothing unsettled, nothing unresolved should be carried over to the next day. Instead, interpersonal problems should be handled on a daily basis so that they do not build up and abscess.”

B. You know, anger can be handled WRONGLY in one of two ways.
1. Some people handle anger by “BLOWING UP.”
2. In fact, some psychologists actually believe that “blowing up” (venting one’s anger) is a really good thing.
3. They recommend to their counselees that they do whatever it takes to “get it out of their systems,” even if it means “screaming, or yelling, or throwing something at the person who is the object of your anger.”
4. There’s only problem with this kind of advice, it shows concern only for the feelings of one person (the one doing the screaming), certainly not for the feelings of the one being screamed at.
5. The Bible teaches us that we are to do the opposite, that we are to suppress our anger.
6. For example, Prov. 16:32 says, “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.”
7. And then again in Prov. 25:28, “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.”

C. While some people handle anger by “blowing up,” others handle it by “CLAMMING UP.”
1. In fact, some Christians not only let “the sun go down upon” their “wrath,” they actually let many moons come and go without resolving the issues that are causing their anger.
2. (Illus.- Elliot and Marie sat across from their pastor ready to begin their first counseling session. The pastor noticed that Elliot had brought a briefcase with him, so he decided to begin the session with him. He said, “Elliot, what do you have in your briefcase?” Elliot said, “I’m glad you asked!” He then opened his briefcase, took out an 81/2 X 11 manuscript that was almost an inch thick and tossed it on the pastor’s desk. The pastor asked him, “What’s this?” Elliot replied, this is the reason that we are here today!” As the pastor began flipping through the manuscript, he discovered it to be a 13 year written record of all the things that his wife had ever done to make him angry. They were all listed and categorized. After a few moments, the pastor looked up and focused his eyes on Elliot, who no doubt was expecting him to begin scolding his wife for being such a terrible wife. Instead, the pastor said, “Elliot, in all of my years of counseling, I have never met anyone as full of resentment as you!” He said, “This is not only a record of what your wife has done to you, it is also a record of your sin against her and your sin against God!” Elliot sat in his chair with a shocked look on his face. The pastor went on to explain that by clamming up and harboring all of that resentment in his heart for 13 years, he had actually made the situation far worse.)

D. How then should husbands and wives deal with their anger?
1. By calmly and quickly discussing the issue that brought on the anger until the issue is resolved.
2. What did Paul say?
3. He said, “…let not the sun go down upon your wrath:” (Eph. 4:26)

E. Not only should the communication that takes place in a marriage be both honest and timely, it should also be…

III. Beneficial.

A. Notice again Vrs. 29 of our text, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”

B. It’s sad to say, but in many marriages, most of the communication that takes place is anything but beneficial.
1. In these marriages words are used to hurt, to demoralize, to tear down.
2. Here’s what happens.
3. A problem develops in the marriage, words begin to fly, however, rather than the words being directed at the problem, they are instead directed at each other.
4. Rather than attacking the problem, they begin to attack one another!
5. This, of course, this kind of communication does absolutely nothing to solve the problem, but only makes things worse.
6. I think sometimes we forget who the real enemy is.
7. No matter how bad things are, no matter how serious the problems may be, our spouse is NOT the enemy.

C. Marriages need communication that is beneficial, that edifies or builds one another up, that “ministers grace unto the hearers,” that attacks THE PROBLEM, not one another.

D. By the way, some couples use a more subtle form of corrupt communication, it’s called SARCASM.
1. Sarcasm may be a little more subtle than an outright attack, however, it is just as destructive in a marriage.
2. Listen, I honestly believe that a marriage would be better off with NO communication, than with any form of corrupt communication.
3. If you can’t say something positive, if you can’t say something beneficial, if you can’t say something helpful, then just don’t say anything at all. (Don’t make the situation even worse than it already is!)
4. (Illus.- But someone says, “Pastor, the Bible says to speak the truth, and that’s all I’m doing, is speaking the truth!” Well, you may be speaking the truth, but the Bible also says to speak “the truth in love.” [Eph. 4:15] If you can’t speak the truth “in love,” then don’t speak it all!)

Conclusion:

A. What have we learned about the communication that takes place in a marriage?
1. It should be HONEST. (Open, truthful)
2. It should be TIMELY. (Resolve issues quickly.)
3. It should be BENEFICIAL. (Aimed at solving the problem, not tearing down your mate.)

B. How about it couples?
1. Do you have this kind of communication in your marriage?
2. If not, then you clearly have some work to do.
3. Perhaps you need to make you an altar somewhere and earnestly seek the Lord’s help to establish good communication in your marriage.

C. Someone says, “Pastor, it is too late for us!”
1. Listen, it’s never too late!
2. God can help you to overcome whatever problems you are facing in your marriage, but you have to seek Him.

D. Perhaps you are not saved. This is where you need to begin.

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