TLP 156: Concrete Family Talk | avoiding misunderstanding; encouraging true understanding
Has the communication in your home fallen apart? Are you a new family trying to lay a biblical foundation for your Family Talk? Today AMBrewster discusses how Psalm 14 can help Christian parents be better Ambassadors of the Lord through the way they communicate.
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Thank you for joining me today as we search God’s Word to learn how to be Ambassador Parents.
If you’re new to the show or you’ve never listened to the two part episode called “The 5th Way to Parent: the only parenting style that glorifies God” I hope you will. There truly is only one parenting style that pleases the Lord, and we need to know what it is.
Not only that, but those two episodes also talk about the four other parenting styles that displease Him. “Know thyself” may be an uncomfortable proposition, but it’s necessary if we’re serious about following Christ.
In my flesh, I tend to be a Dictator Parent instead of an Ambassador. And when I do that, I’m actively working against the best interest of my home.
And this ties into today’s discussion because — it doesn’t matter what kind of parent we are — most of interaction we have with our kids is verbal.
Sure, we provide for them and play with them (sometimes) and cook for them and drive them to school, but most the influence we have comes through our words.
So, if my words are selfish, inaccurate, unloving, or unclear, I’m chipping away at the foundation of our relationship and the home.
Before we continue, I’d like to ask those of you who’ve been with us for a while to please rate and review the show. Perhaps you started listening because you read reviews from parents just like you who were blessed by this show. Perhaps your review can do the same for another.
Alright, what does it mean to have Concrete Family Talk?
There are plenty of dictionaries you can use to understand words, but I like Merriam-Webster. One of the reasons I like them is the extras they provide.
When I looked up “concrete” they included a “Did You Know?” section that read, “We can trace "concrete" back to the Latin verb concrescere, meaning "to grow together." Appropriately, when if first entered English "concrete" could mean "connected by growth." Logicians and grammarians also applied "concrete" to words that expressed a quality viewed as being united with the thing it describes. That in turn led to the sense of "concrete" which we now contrast with "abstract" - concrete words express actual things ("rock," "lizard, "harpsichord"), while abstract words express qualities apart from actual things ("bliss," "freedom," "turpitude"). It was not until the 19th century that the noun "concrete," and its related adjective, began to be used for the building material composed of cementing material and sand, gravel, or similar materials.”
I thought that was kind of cool.
We’re going to tweak that idea ever so slightly and use this definition: Concrete Family Talk uses words that are united with God’s intention for those words. Concrete Family Talk grows in connection with God’s Truth.
It’s been said that prose is “words in their best order” and poetry is “the best words in their best order.”
If that’s the case, then I encourage us to parent in poetry and teach our children to do the same.
Of course, I’m not advocating a house full of Dr. Suess’s of Longfellows, and I realize that this concept may seem strange, so we’re going to use the rest of our time to define Concrete Family Talk.
What are the best words in the best order?
For today’s study we’re going to consider the 14th Psalm.
1. Concrete Family Talk is acceptable to God.
Verse 14, the very last verse of the Psalm, says, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”
Is it acceptable to God to lie? Is it acceptable to God to tear people down? Is it acceptable to God to swear?
Imagine how your Family Talk would be revolutionized by simply learning what it means to be acceptable to God and then living that way.
The words we use in our Concrete Family Talk must grow in connection to God’s expectations.
2. Concrete Family Talk exalts God.
The first six verse illustrate Creation’s speech.
“1 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. 2 Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. 3 There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. 4 Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.”
The entire Creation is obsessed with proclaiming God’s awesomeness. There isn’t a native tongue who hasn’t heard its declamation. Isn’t it interesting that humans are the only part of Creation that doesn’t constantly declare His power and glory?
Reflect on that for a moment or two.
How often is God exalted in your home? How many conversations turn to His grandeur, love, mercy, holiness? When you correct your children, do you exalt God? When your kids admonish each other, is God the preeminent motivation for behavior? Is His Word read and proclaimed?
The words we use in our Concrete Family Talk must grow in connection to God’s purposes. One of the reasons He gave us speech was to tell others about Him.
3. Concrete Family Talk is exact.
This is the last point, and we’re going to park on it for a bit because it’s a huge point. I could have taken these sub-points and made them main points, but I want this to be practical for you. I want you to be able to walk away from this concept with three main ideas and be able to start using the principles today instead of feeling like there’s this massive list of requirements.
Some of you may have felt overwhelmed if added any more. And — let’s be honest — we should. God tells us we need to be holy as He is holy. That’s the core goal of the Ambassador Parent: maintaining high biblical expectations for ourselves and high biblical expectations for others.
So, what does it mean for our Family Talk to be exact?
Merriam-Webster defines “exact” as “exhibiting or marked by strict, particular, and complete accordance with fact or a standard : marked by thorough consideration or minute measurement of small factual details.”
How does God define exact?
Let’s read Psalm 14:7-11: “7 The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; 8 the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; 9 the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. 11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.”
This section is about the Law of God which — as we all know — has been graciously communicated to us in the Word of God.
Do you remember our episode about the book “War of Words”? Some of us had never really thought about the fact that spoken and written communication is precious and divine because God ordained it to be the channel through which we know Him and each other.
Therefore, what better form of communication is there in which to root our Family Talk than God’s Word?
In order to have Concrete Family Talk, it needs to be exact, which means we need to model it after these 8 principles:
A. Concrete Family Talk is perfect. It revives the soul.
The Hebrew word translated “perfect” refers to being whole or complete. It’s healthy and unstained.
The word translated “reviving” speaks to bringing something back — presumably to bring something back from where it was to a place of wholeness.
Consider the implications.
Do your words give spiritual health? Are they complete in that they communicate the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
Hear me out friends, we need to jettison our modern, culturally informed ideas concerning the definitions of words. We need to communicate God intentions for the ideas He created.
Let me give you one example: God created two sexes. There are men and women. Biblically speaking, there is no such thing as gender — as defined by Millennials.
The English word “gender” came to us via the Anglo-French “genre” which came from the Latin which referred to birth, race, kind, and sex.
For years and years, if you looked gender up in a dictionary you would find a definition like this: “a : a subclass within a grammatical class (such as noun, pronoun, adjective, or verb) of a language that is partly arbitrary but also partly based on distinguishable characteristics (such as shape, social rank, manner of existence, or sex) and that determines agreement with and selection of other words or grammatical forms b : membership of a word or a grammatical form in such a subclass c : an inflectional form showing membership in such a subclass.”
Gender was a term that referred to the grammatical class of words . . . not people.
However, let’s do some time travel back to the early 20th Century. Because the word sex started to take on more “erotic” connotation, people felt uncomfortable and started using the word gender instead.
So, for decades people have been using the word “gender” and instead of “sex.” But the first appearances of this substitution were found in early feminist writing and was often used to refer to social attributes as much as it was biological attributes.
Since the word never actually referred to sexual organs, but instead referred to a cognitive association to grammatical concepts that have no human sex, it made all the sense in the word to detach the from the word “gender” everything having to do with biological sex.
dictionary.com now provides this footnote to the new definition for “gender:” “Although it is possible to define gender as “sex,” indicating that the term can be used when differentiating male creatures from female ones biologically, the concept of gender, a word primarily applied to human beings, has additional connotations—more rich and more amorphous—having to do with general behavior, social interactions, and most importantly, one's fundamental sense of self.
"Until recently, most people assumed that acknowledging one's gender, or sex, was easy. You just checked the appropriate box on a standard form, choosing either “male” or “female,” according to the gender you had been assigned at birth based on visible anatomical evidence. But some people's internal sense of who they are does not correspond with their assigned gender. And in fact, we now recognize that a complex spectrum between male and female exists not only mentally, psychologically, and behaviorally, but also anatomically . . . .
“Gender identity is complicated. Some people, perhaps most, do not question their assigned gender. But others perceive themselves as belonging to the opposite sex. Still others, some of whom identify themselves as genderqueer see themselves as neither male nor female, or perhaps as both, or as rotating between genders, or even as not belonging to any gender categorization at all . . . .
“This array of life experiences has resulted in a veritable explosion of new, or newly adapted, vocabulary. Particularly striking and useful is the word cis or prefix cis- as in cis male, cis female, and cisgender, designating those whose sense of self matches their assigned gender. Using cis is a way to refer to these individuals without implying that “cis” people are the norm and all others a deviation from “normal.” It is notable that choices of gender beyond male and female are even appearing on social media sites. Clearly, gender is no longer a simple binary concept, if it ever was.”
Because we stopped using words the way they were intended and decided to use words the way they weren’t intended, we have found ourselves in a place where Christian young people actually believe that “gender” is something different than “sex.”
And perhaps it now is because we’re made it different.
But the post-modern view of “gender” is . . . not . . . biblical.
In A TLP Snippet #5 I made the observation that transgenderism is child abuse. Let me now go so far as to say that allowing our children to believe that a person’s gender is somehow potentially different than their biological sex, or that a person has a gender in the first place is child endangerment.
Any time we allow our children to believe something God says is not true, we are endangering them.
Our Family Talk must be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help us God.
Okay, moving on and with more brevity . . .
B. Concrete Family Talk is sure. It makes wise the simple.
The word “sure” refers to being trustworthy. It’s trustworthy to do what? Well, many things, but specifically the passage says that it takes the simple and makes them wise.
Simple people are ignorant, silly, and foolish. Wisdom is living as God commands.
Our conversations need to give our children information they can trust. This speaks not only to having the habit of speaking words that will make them wise, but it also teaches us that we need to be trustworthy when we promise things.
If we say we’re going to do it, we must do it, or we’re not being concrete; we’re not being exact.
C. Concrete Family Talk is right. It rejoices the heart.
Our words need to be just, upright, righteous.
God created this world to need Him. He created us to thrive when everything is right. When we ignore His truth and seek our own way, we spiral into unrighteousness which leads to pain and destruction. Sin hurts.
We must not allow ourselves to adopt ideologies and philosophies that run country to God’s Truth.
We talked about this in episode 61, “Are there Failure Philosophies in Your Home?” That would be a fantastic supplement to today’s study.
Your home life will not work if you subscribe to mottos and mantras that contradict Scripture. You know, like “Follow your heart.”
D. Concrete Family Talk is pure. It enlightens the eyes.
As you can imagine, “pure” refers to being clean and free from impurities.
I believe the imagery of the eyes grows from the idea that the eyes are windows to the soul. Just like we revive our homes by throwing open the drapes and allowing the sunlight to flood through our house, God’s purity allows the whole person to be refreshed, revived, and enlightened.
Are our words stained by sin?
How many things do we speak that are blemished by selfishness, greed, anxiety, pride, sinful anger, or depression? When we speak in those ways, I believe we darken the spirits of those to whom we’re speaking.
E. Concrete Family Talk is clean. It endures forever.
The Hebrew word translated “clean” is very similar to the word “pure.” In fact, in some passages it too is translated “pure.”
However, I believe the chief difference is not in the words, but in what they accomplish. Pure words give God’s light to the soul, and clean words last forever.
Like a bar of gold that’s free from its matrix and purified from its dross, Concrete Family Talk will last for all eternity.
Sinful talk often dies on the ears of the listener, and if it’s lucky enough to be recorded in a book or podcast, it will likely outlive its author. But it will come to an end when God throws sin and hell into the Lake of Fire.
Only talk that has grown in connection to the Lord will be an everlasting legacy.
F. Concrete Family Talk is true. It’s altogether righteous.
True Family Talk is faithful. It doesn’t change. It’s reliable.
This idea is similar to our words being sure and trustworthy. And why are they faithful? Because they’re completely righteous.
G. Concrete Family Talk is valuable. It’s more precious than gold and sweeter than honey.
In episode 145 we talked about “How to have a Valuable Family.” These concepts are very closely related.
Your Family Talk won’t be valuable if it doesn’t conform to God’s standard of value.
In that episode we discussed Philippians 4:8 as being a good start in understanding how God defines valuable.
H. Concrete Family Talk is secure. There is great reward in heeding its warning.
Your family can rest safe and secure when their words conform to God’s high biblical expectations.
We know this because our words come from our minds — our spirits, our hearts. And there is no end to the promises of spiritual safety when people run to the refuge that is God and His holiness.
By way of review — and please know that I will have all of this in our episode notes. You can click on the link below to access them . . .
And when we say exact, we mean that our talk is . . .
And listen to the way David ends this Psalm: “12 Who can discern [God’s] errors?” The obvious answer being “Nobody.”
And he continues, “Declare me innocent from hidden faults. 13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression. 14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”
Wouldn’t it be amazing if our children grew up to be innocent, free of insolence, and blameless?
If that’s how you want your children to turn out, I encourage you to give some more thought to the way your family communicates.
Lastly, let me point you toward episode 38, “The Communication House.” If today felt a little overwhelming, and you feel like you need simpler stepping stones, that episode will not only give you what you need, but will also provide you an image you can hang in your house to help your whole family start speaking in a Christ-Honoring way.
Please don’t forget to share today’s episode with your friends.
Next time we’re going to talk about “Mothering for Jesus.” Of course, as you’ve come to realize, I rarely ever speak to just one of the parents. So, Dads, don’t skip that one because you think it won’t be relevant to you.
And if the Lord is laying on your heart that you should consider partnering with Truth.Love.Parent., I would encourage you to click on the link below marked “5 Ways to Support TLP” or go to TruthLoveParent.com and learn some about our mission, passion, goals, and roles.
We know that parenting is a huge, life-dominating calling. And communication is the second most difficult part of parenting.
We want to help you every step of the way.
So, I’ll see you next time.
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