ARE YOU UP FOR THE CHALLENGE?



"I Statements" ... a style of communication that focuses on the feelings or beliefs of the speaker rather than thoughts and characteristics that the speaker attributes to the listener.





I watched a wonderful thing happen about a week ago. It was along the lines of healthy communication. Here are the cast of people who were involved.


Millie: The person who used the “I statement” technique

Betty: Autumn’s cousin

Autumn: The one whose words got the party started


So, this is how it went down. Betty overheard Autumn say (in so many words) that Millie was wearing out her welcome. Betty shared what she overheard with Millie. Because of an arrangement Millie had with Autumn the situation could not be swept under the rug. Millie called me and asked my opinion, I stated, Give yourself a minute to calm down because you are in your feelings right now. Millie agreed. Before the evening ended, Millie phoned me and said, I had the conversation by text, using "I" statements. Some point afterwards, Millie sent Autumn a video of them having had good times together in an effort to show that love was not lost because of this hurtful situation. I don’t know if anyone actually said "sorry", but they knew no one meant to harm the other. It was a rough moment but the relationship gained strength from this test. Seeing those smiles return and no residue of he said/she said … I couldn’t wait to look up the “I” statement communications method and purpose. Needless to say I get it! Here's an excerpt from an article on the "I" statement purpose.


An “I” message or “I” statement is a style of communication that focuses on the feelings or beliefs of the speaker rather than thoughts and characteristics that the speaker attributes to the listener. For example, a person might say to his or her partner, “I feel abandoned and worried when you consistently come home late without calling” instead of demanding, “Why are you never home on time?”


ROLE OF “I” STATEMENTS IN COMMUNICATION

Thomas Gordon developed the concept of an “I” statement in the 1960s and contrasted these statements to “you” statements, which shift blame and attributions to the listener. “I” statements enable speakers to be assertive without making accusations, which can often make listeners feel defensive. An “I” statement can help a person become aware of problematic behavior and generally forces the speaker to take responsibility for his or her own thoughts and feelings rather than attributing them—sometimes falsely or unfairly—to someone else. When used correctly, “I” statements can help foster positive communication in relationships and may help them become stronger, as sharing feelings and thoughts in an honest and open manner can help partners grow closer on an emotional level. Read entire article go to: https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/i-message




A Biblical Perspective


King Saul

King Saul’s downfall was that, no matter what the Lord put before him, deep down inside he felt small in his own eyes (insignificant). This clearly got in the way of the mission. Saul shared with Samuel (1 Sam 15:24-25) that he was afraid of the people and obeyed their voice. But before this claim of "people fear" occurred Saul was off somewhere building a monument in his own honor (1 Sam 15:12). Sometimes we feel the pressure of insignificance and secretly set out to build a monument unawares. Even when Saul was confessing "I sinned", he was working on feelings of insignificance … He says to Samuel forgive my sin and come back with me (I Sam 15:24-25). Why is pointing this out significant? Because Saul wanted to still look large in the people’s eyes by being seen with Samuel the Prophet of God. Unfortunately, Saul continued to have the things of man in mind which means his mind was still not focused on God. Mark 8:33 reads But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. "Get behind me, Satan!" he said. "You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."


- 1 Sam 15:17-18 … Samuel said, "Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel. 18 And he sent you on a mission.


- 1 Sam 15:12 … Early in the morning Samuel got up and went to meet Saul, but he was told, "Saul has gone to Carmel. There he has set up a monument in his own honor and has turned and gone on down to Gilgal."


- 1 Sam 15:24-25 … Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned; for I have transgressed the command of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. 25 Now, please, pardon my sin and return with me, so that I may worship the LORD.


Job

Job on the other hand had not quite built a physical monument in his own honor but perhaps he was “popping his collar” in secret. Job did not look small in his own eyes and you can tell by his argument with his friends that he was proud of the life he lived and had given his all. It wasn't going to be easy for anyone to change Job's mind. My thought is that God was working on Job's secret thing. It had not manifested yet. Romans 2:15-16 reads ... and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them. This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.


Like Job we all have lessons to learn. We must become comfortable in the student’s position. Job was learning the lesson that good works are not his source of righteousness ... it is belief/adherence to the Word of God. Job didn’t give-up but he eventually gave-in. Job had to get out of the business of convincing folks and let the Lord tell him where he stood. He yielded! And how did he do that? He turned his talk into “I” statements (Job 42:3).



Job 32:1-2 … So these three men stopped answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. 2 But Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, became very angry with Job for justifying himself rather than God.


Job 40:8 … "Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself?


Job 42:2-3 … 2 "I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. 3 [You asked,] 'Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?' Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.


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