Of all the self-evaluation questions at the end of chapter 1 in War of Words, this one hit me the most:
Do you talk with others to develop relationships with them, or do you only talk to solve problems during times of trouble?
In chapter 1: God Speaks, I see that God is a God who speaks and he has spoken to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to reveal himself. We can know God because he has chosen to talk to us in a language we can understand! It is no surprise then likewise, human relationships (and all of life) works because we talk.
In creating us with the ability to talk, God has not only set us apart from the rest of creation, but he has determined the nature of our lives and relationships. Want to learn? Listen and talk. Want to have a relationship? Listen and talk. Want to get a job? Listen and talk. Want to worship? Listen and talk. Want to parent your children? Listen and talk. Want to contribute to the body of Christ? Listen and talk. People communicate; it is the nature of our existence. Words affect all the other things we do as human beings. God created our talk and gave it value.
— Paul Tripp, War of Words, p13, emphasis mine.
I tend to build relationships by sharing activities (yeah I know, it’s a ‘guy’ trait!) and talking just for (what I think is) talking’s sake… well, what’s that?! But despite my preference to do something together rather than talk with another person, I suspect that sometimes I am not interested in talking just because I’m not interested in that person. I am fascinated by the array of gifts and talents the people around me have, but I also tend to talk to them only when I need them. When that need ends, the talking ends as well. “Keeping in touch” has always been something I either fail to do or have to work very hard at.
Do I sound like the scum of the earth?! Maybe I am one. After all this is about honest self evaluation and real change will have to come from God.