Hearing Well and Being Heard Well
Everyone wants to be heard well, but are we as willing to hear others well? In order to understand ourselves and others, different ways to categorize people have emerged over the years such as Myers & Briggs, DISC, and Enneagram. I recently read about another way to categorize people in a book dealing with how we communicate, 5 Voices: How to Communicate Effectively with Everyone You Lead. The book describes 5 different voices with which people communicate—the Pioneer, Creative, Connector, Guardian, and Nurturer. Each voice (think communication style when I use the word voice) has positive inclinations and negative tendencies. In analyzing the book through a biblical worldview, I discovered some valuable insights.
As a result of being made in the image of God (Gen 1:27), each person is valuable no matter how they use their voice. Some people have voices that are louder than others, more forceful, or more likeable, yet they all are to be valued because each person is made in the image of God. As a result of being made in the image of God, each person should be honored (1 Pet 2:17) and loved (John 15:12). Furthermore, different kinds of people (with a variety of voices) are needed to make a group function properly (1 Cor 12:14-26). All are important and need to be encouraged to be the best that they can be in Christ (1Thess 5:11).
Furthermore, the voices can be used in immature and mature ways. The Holy Spirit indwells a believer who displays a mature voice. Evidence of the indwelling Holy Spirit is the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23). All 5 voices in believers can and should exhibit the fruit of the Spirit. Following is a brief look at the mature voice through evidence of the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Love enables someone to sacrificially do what is best for others and not push for their own agenda. A deep joy rises from resting in God’s sovereignty for outcomes as opposed to trying to control others with your communication style. Also, peace prevails as a mature believer trusts God in the midst of conflicting voices. Furthermore, people with different voices will need to be patient with others to allow for effective communication. Acts of kindness will nurture relationships between those with different voices as well as acts of goodness to fight for the highest possible good for everyone.
Being faithful will facilitate a voice that is listened to. Moreover, when someone is gentle and submits to God’s plan, the best for all can occur. Finally, all the voices have negative tendencies, but a mature person will identify these self-tendencies and call upon God for empowerment to utilize self-control. In conclusion, the mature believer will be embracing all the voices and engaging with them in a way that displays the fruit of the Spirit.
As I contemplated how I use my particular voice (communication style) and how I listen to others with different voices, I noticed some immature characteristics. I struggle with valuing and honoring people with voices that are different than mine—especially immature ones. Furthermore, the fruit of the Spirit is not continuously evident in my life when I communicate with others. God used Psalm 51 to point out that my immature characteristics were actually sins and sins against God. As I exhaled my confessed sins to God, I inhaled purification and an enriched sense of His presence. Words from Henri Nouwen were a further balm to my soul, “The truth, even though I cannot feel it right now, is that I am the chosen child of God, precious in God’s eyes, called the Beloved from all eternity, and held safe in an everlasting embrace” (1 Pet 2:4; Col 3:12; Deut 33:27).
How are we doing in our communication? Are you and I as eager to hear others well as we are to be heard well? What habits could we incorporate today that would increase our hearing others well and being heard well? Valuing and honoring each other as we are clothed in the fruit of the Spirit is a great place to start!
For your consideration: Jeremie Kubicek and Steve Cockram’s book, 5 Voices: How to Communicate Effectively with Everyone You Lead, Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2016. Henri J.M. Nouwen’s book, Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World, New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1992.
Image from https://www.cumanagement.com/articles/2019/02/advancing-women-what-do-when-communication-styles-clash-embrace-it, accessed February 19, 2021
 Jeremie Kubicek and Steve Cockram, 5 Voices: How to Communicate Effectively with Everyone You Lead, (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2016).
 Henri J.M. Nouwen, Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World (New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1992), 59.