Do you ever have to communicate with other people? Yes, because we are not hermits. Do you ever have problems with your communication? Yes, because we are all sinners. Paul David Tripp has written a great book, War of Words, which will give you some excellent advice on how not only avoid the conflict that inevitably arises from talking to others, but also how to make your communication a blessing to them.
Tripp lays out four principles for his book as follows:
- God has a wonderful plan for our words that is far better than anything we could come up with on our own.
- Sin has radically altered our agenda for our words, resulting in much hurt, confusion and chaos.
- In Christ Jesus we find the grace that provides all that we need to speak as God has planned.
- The Bible plainly and simply teaches us how to get from where we are to where God wants us to be.
If that sounds a little like the gospel, it is! This book does a great job of showing how the gospel lived out will affect the words that we use. For most of us, our words tend to create a war. But communicating God’s way will end the war and bring peace, joy and encouragement to our various relationships.
Every chapter has one or more passages from the Bible where Tripp has derived principles that apply to how we speak to others, whether it is our spouse, children, co-workers or friends. For example, in one chapter, “Citizens in Need of Help”, he uses Hebrews 3:12-15 to show how Christians tend to wander away from the Lord and need the help of other Christians to overcome the sin that has deceived us. He applies these verses to the Christian providing encouragement to those with whom we communicate. Great stuff! In the last chapter, he uses Ephesians 4 to show how we should choose our words when we need to speak to another person about an issue of concern.
If I had to choose one big lesson that was most helpful to me, it would be the fact that whenever we speak to others, we need to speak what he calls “redemptively intentional.” We have to have a purpose in our communication; we want to help the other person because we are acting as ambassadors for God, a principle that he applies from 2 Corinthians 5:11-21. We are speaking for the King! Do we not want to therefore give the right message in the right way? Our speech should be seeking to redeem people, not judge, criticize, attack or humiliate them.
War of Words is a book that every Christian needs to read and then put into practice. You will easily identify with the many practical examples he uses to illustrate the principles he is teaching. So many times I found myself thinking, “That’s exactly what happens!” You will find a ton of practical help that will change how you communicate with others.