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Measuring Your Words With Others

Air Date 02/26/2018

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Everyday interaction provides us with ample opportunities to blunder our words, not only with each other, but for all to hear and see through social media. Dr. Emerson Eggerichs explains how we can be careful to measure what we say in order to avoid misunderstanding and hurt feelings.

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Episode Transcript

Opening:

Excerpt:

Dr. Emerson Eggerichs: People were saying, “What’s your point? You know, I - I don’t quite” - you know, and I said, “Well, I know what I mean. I just can’t say it.” And someone said, “If you can’t say it, you don’t know what you mean.”

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: That’s Dr. Emerson Eggerichs and he joins us today on Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. Thanks for joining us. I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: Hey, John, I don’t want to put you on the spot. But how many emails have you sent, and you went, uh-oh - maybe accidentally, maybe on purpose? (Laughter)

John: Oh, you know what? That’s a really bad feeling.I try to isolate myself from those moments. Probably...

Jim: Have you done it?

John:I don’t know. It’s probably been at least a few weeks.

Jim: I don’t even know - you know, the other thing about that kind of email or tweet or whatever it might be, it’s not always meant with the emotion. Sometimes the person you send that to comes back around and says, “Why were you so upset?” You’re going, “I - I wasn’t upset. I was just asking a question.” (Laughter)

John: It is really hard.

Jim: And that happens. And it’s so hard to do that analysis. You don’t know how that unintended consequence is going to occur. You know, in James, uh, 3 - we all know it - it says, “No human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it, we bless our Lord and Father. And with it, we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” I think that’s an amazing human line right there. It should not be so. Why did you do that? And, uh, today, we’re going to talk with a very special guest, very popular. Everybody loves Emerson Eggerichs. And, uh, he has done so much to help marriages. And he also has a new book to help us in this area of communication.

John: Yeah. It’s calledBefore You Hit Send, and it’s all about those social media impulses and the emails that we’d like to retract somehow.

Jim: (Laughter)

John: Dr. Eggerichs is an internationally known speaker, uh, as you said, Jim. Love and respect is a signature message of his, and so many of us have been helped by that. I am really looking forward to the conversation today with him.

Body:

Jim: Emerson, welcome back to Focus.

Emerson: Thank you, Jim, John.

Jim: Love and respect - it’s interesting, because that’s a deep, deep theme that the Lord has illuminated for you. And you’ve written about it profoundly, and, uh - and many of our listeners love you and respect you for it.And you can really turn it into the whole communication area as well - not just marriage, but in this electronic digital age, right?

Emerson: Well, it does apply. In fact, the backstory in this - my daughter, Joy, wanted me to write this book. Um, in fact, uh, in discussions with HarperCollins, they actually were behind this as well, uh, because they were concerned about the social media. And Joy said, “Well, my dad, you know, has something maybe to offer in the area of communication. And I’ve observed him over the years do certain things that have impacted me.” Because when I was at Wheaton as a student, I heard something in chapel that really, uh, is the message of this book that I tried to apply over the years. And Joy said, “Dad, I think you should try to get that on paper.” And so that’s really the backstory. My daughter wanted me to write this. It’s not under the Love and Respect brand, but infiltrated throughout this are some principles that indeed need to be loving and respectful.

Jim: And it’s so wonderful that you’ve taken these proceeds from your book to pay for your college - your daughter’s college education. (LAUGHTER)

Emerson: That’s right.

Jim: So Joy, you win. So, um...

Emerson: Exactly. Exactly.

Jim: Emerson, let’s go there.Um, why is it important for us to think before we speak? And - and that’s what James is talking about. But in modern day, send or click or, (laughter) you know, however, talk about that distinction between the soul of people and the tongue and the fingers that we send these digital messages with.

Emerson: Well, there are a number of questions within that. But I think the thing that’s always affected me is the - the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. So at the end of the day, when I do certain things, whether it’s through an email or over the phone or face-to-face with someone, if it’s coming out, it’s probably coming from my heart. And I always have to kind of just back up and ask myself, “Is this person really causing me to speak the way I am, or are they revealing more about who I am as a person?” And I don’t like to take a look at myself in that regard. But that’s been one of those principles. You know, why did I just say what I said? Well, they made me mad. That’s why. Well... or did they reveal that I’ve got a problem with anger?

And I don’t like going there with that. That’s for sure. But I think there’s a larger question. And that is, you know, we all know we should think before we speak. When we were four years old, our - our parents told us. So this isn’t rocket science. So it raises the question, why would we proceed with speaking before we really thought about this? Why are we doing this? What’s really going on? And the book revolves around reasons that good-willed people - there is not a mean spirit. We don’t get up in the morning storyboarding ways to send off an (chuckle) email to somebody. But why would we do what we know we shouldn’t do? To your point, like James says, you know, you ought not to speak this way. We know that. So why are we stepping over the line? And perhaps we can address that.

Jim: Well, that’s the question, isn’t it? We’re gonna get there. You have four key elements in the book. We’re going to cover those four key questions.Just to give people a - a scope of what’s going on, because I was shocked - uh, in the book you mentioned every 24 hours, 205 billion emails are sent across cyberspace.And every second, almost 60,000 tweets are tweeted across the Internet, um, into the Twitter universe or (laughter) whatever. Um, I think that’s 350,000 tweets per minute. (Laughter) I mean, that’s - this is amazing data. And so it’s like this free flow of conversation.In fact, in the book, you describe Justine, I think her name was - about how she was impacted by social media.

Emerson: Yeah. She was the global head of communications for a - a media conglomerate. And, uh, she was living in New York and flying home to South Africa for Christmas when she tweeted, “Going to Africa. I hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding - I’m white.” Whoa. After the plane, uh, touched down, she learned that her tweet had gone viral. And she lost her job. And friends who knew her - and there was an editorial in The New York Times, I believe - he was defending her because he said it was all sarcasm. She was really putting down Caucasians. She was saying, “You know, I’m...”

Jim: The fear of all that.

Emerson: Yeah. I mean, she was - really, it was a slam on whites.

Jim: So she was meaning - she was meaning the opposite.

Emerson: It was a slam on herself. Exactly. She was putting a slam on herself. Like, I’m this wonderful, wonderful person. Surely it wouldn’t affect me, because we’re better than everybody. So she was being sarcastic. That’s what I understand the story to be. But it doesn’t make any difference. If your listeners and readers believe that you have a message in your sarcasm - that you’re better than me, for instance, in this case - they’re going to be reactionary to that. And each of us has to ask ourselves, “Is that which I’m - I’m about to speak gonna come across to a person in a way that feels loving and kind and - and appropriate and necessary?” And it’s crucial that we do that.

Jim: Yeah. Let’s hit the four questions. So let’s start with the first one, is it true? Talk about truth and the importance of truth.

Emerson: Well, again, this, uh, is an interesting thing, because so many people say they’re lying when they don’t have to lie. And there’s that whole component, which is, you know, peculiar to me. But I think each of us has to ask ourselves, and I have 20 reasons why we might compromise that. For instance, we might be a peacemaker. And this is where I give people a lot of grace. Uh, in marriage, you’ll see it. The - the husband’s the peacemaker, and he doesn’t want conflict. So he hedges on the truth. It’s not because he’s ill-willed or mean-spirited. He’d literally die for this woman if someone tried to kill her, right? So he’s a good-hearted, loving guy who would sacrifice his own life. But he comes home, and she asks, “What’d you do with that $150?”

And so he doesn’t want to fight with her, and so he ends up, you know, misleading her in that. And I - I point out in the book that many good-willed people are stepping over these areas. But in the broader issue, the courts always say, “You must tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God.” And we know how crucial and critical that is. And it isn’t just the truth. It’s the whole truth and nothing but the truth. And I used to think that was redundant, but, you know, you cantell the truth. But if it’s not the whole truth, it can be equal to a lie.

Jim: Right. In fact, the scripture talks of prevarication, which is just a spinning of the truth to imply something other than the truth.

Emerson: That’s right.And we do it because we believe that it will be in our best interest to do that. And each of us has to step back and say, “Short-term, yeah, that’s probably true. But long-term, is there a price to pay, a consequence?” And the challenge I’m extending to myself and to all of us is the people who’ve been most effective long-term have abided by certain principles. They simply haven’t gone there.

I mean, the story’s told years ago of Roosevelt, who had a - a cowhand who saw some open cattle. They were out in the open range that were unbranded. And so the guy said, “I’ll go round those up for you.” And Roosevelt said, “You’re fired.” He said, “What do you mean, I’m fired?”He said, “If you’ll steal for me, you’ll steal from me.” And the point is some of us are working for companies where they’re asking us to lie for them. And, uh, the truth is we’ll end up lying to them.And each of us are part of a culture that we have to step back and ask ourselves, “Am I going to be a person of integrity or not?”

There was a young man who was sold as a slave, about 14. He was on a block of wood. And the slave owner that was gonna bid on him came up prior to the bidding and said, “If I buy you, will you be honest?” And he looked at him and said, “Sir, whether you buy me or not, I’ll be honest.” And each of us has to come to that point where we say, “You know what? I’m gonna be a person of truthfulness, even if there’s a price to pay on this. I’m going to be this type of individual.” Now, is it to my advantage short-term? Not always. You can get a lot by lying. But in the overarching life, everything that I’ve learned is that the person who maintains that truthfulness in the long run will be the most effective and the most successful.

Jim: You know, it’s interesting. I was having a chat the other night with my son, who had a physiology class in high school. And he was saying, you know, Dad, the - the brain chemistry - we are prone to telling white lies because it’s a safety mechanism. And I found that interesting to put it in that context, that we feel it’s safe to prevaricate so we don’t bring on some kind of conflict. And it’s in our sin nature. That’s how I would see it. It’s part of the human condition now.

Emerson: Yes.

Jim: Whereas Jesus came to speak of the truth, to be truth, and, uh, yet, as human beings in the Fall - where we are now - uh, full of sin, we want to be safe rather than accurate or honest.

Emerson: That’s right.

Jim: Is that - is that a fair...?

Emerson: Well, yeah, that’s right. And we talk about the little white lie where, you know, um, it’s a beautiful day today. And it’s not a beautiful day today, but we’re just making small talk on the elevator. That’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about having a relationship with someone where we knowingly say something that we know is untrue, and we mislead them into concluding that what we said is true. And when we consciously, willfully do that, there’s a price to pay later on. Short-term, you can get by. Long-term, when that comes back, we go from the lie that we told to the conclusion that they’re going to start drawing about us that we’re not just one who lies, but we are a liar.

Jim: Yeah. Emerson, I don’t want to put you on the spot here. Well, I guess I do, actually. So let me be honest with you. (Laughter)

Emerson: (Laughter) Well, be truthful - be truthful with me, Jim. What have you been up to this point?

Jim: Yeah, there’s - there’s an example of it right there. (Laughter)

Emerson: When anybody says, hey, I’ll be honest with you. I’m being honest with you...

John: Whole truth, right there.

Emerson: ...Well, what have you been up to this point? (Laughter)

Jim: Well, in that regard, when you look at some of the social graces, um,it’s also how you say these things...

Emerson: Hugely so.

Jim: ...And in what context you say these things. Is it in a loving context or a selfish context? Describe some of the bluntness where it needs a little bit of grace.

Emerson: Right. Well, and that’s the second point. The first point is ask yourself, “Is it true?” But the second, is it kind? Because truth without kindness is cruelty. Right? So this is where people who say, “I’m just going to be honest with ‘em” - no, you’re just going to be cruel with ‘em because you don’t have the social graces to be a loving soul. And you can be right, but wrong at the top of your voice.

Jim: Now, let me ask you there - because, you know, we have temperaments that God gives us. I think it’s - it’s human, and it’s part of God’s distinction that we’re born, like, introvert or extrovert. And many Christians who are scientists have said that, uh, you know, that temperament comes out in how we interact with people. So you have a blunt, black-and-white person who’s a believer. But he sees that, or she sees that, as being very honest, you know? I - I just see the world this way, Emerson.

Emerson: Well, there’s nothing wrong with seeing the world honestly and truthfully. Uh, but based on what your temperament is, there has to be a tempering of that.

Jim: So there’s no get-out-of-jail-free card.

Emerson: There is no - each of us has to come to that. I mean, there are people who are phlegmatic and more, you know, um, peacemaking, and they compromise the truth. Or the other side of that is you can be so nice that you’re not truthful. And so each of us has to come to that point where we get in tune with our temperament. Who has God made me to be? I’m a teacher, exhorter, you know, by - by calling, by gifting, by God’s gifting. But I remember, early on, I was asked to speak at Wheaton chapel as a student, at 19. It was the summertime. And I spoke. And I went with the chaplain afterwards, and I said, “How did I do?” He said, “Don’t beat the sheep.”

Jim: (Laughter) You were too blunt. (Laughter)

Emerson: Exactly. Exactly. And so that was really a - a message to me to temper this. Just because what you said is true doesn’t mean it was loving. That’s why we say, “Speak the truth in love.” Ephesians is very clear about that, and most of us know that scripture. So I have to always ask myself, “Is that which I’m about to say truthful?” If it is, OK, now the question is, “Am I presenting this in a loving way?” And if we say, “Well, I - I don’t have time for that loving thing,” Well, then you don’t have time to speak, because they’re not going to hear you. Most people do not hear our words when they’re delivered in a way that feels unkind.

Jim: Let me press you on this a bit. Um, I’ve had a recent encounter - this will be very (laughter) self-revealing, John. There’s a particular phone company. I cannot get them to understand how poor their billing process (laughter) is. They have even shut our kids’ phones down. I’ve called them. What are you - they can’t hook up the bill I paid with the account. And, I mean, this is going on for months and months. And, um, I kind of got to the point where I lost my temper, Emerson. So you can publicly, you know, reprimand me right now. But I - this poor operator. I finally (laughter) got to the point I’m going, “Ma’am, uh, can I just say, I am really frustrated right now. Because it seems like you guys are a Fortune 500 company, but you can’t get your billing right. You’d think you’d get that right. Now, can you” - (laughter) and you can fill in the blanks.

Emerson: Ouch. (Laughter)

Jim: Now, OK. I need to say at the end, I’m sorry. I get all that. But, uh, sometimes you just get frustrated. How do we as Christians manage that better?

Emerson: Well, I think - I think the point is, we have this idea that you shouldn’t get angry. You shouldn’t be upset. A lot of times, you can say, ma’am, I am so mad right now. It’s not your fault. I’m having a bad hair day. (laughter) I just can’t get - I’m - but I’m so frustrated right now. It doesn’t make sense to me. Help me, although I need therapy more than I need, you know - need - what I say is insert, um, self-deprecating comments. Try to be humorous in the midst of the being spitting mad. And if we don’t do that, then we end up - uh, this person then is saying, “Is this, uh, Jim Daly of Focus on the Family...?”

Jim: (Laughter) Yeah, that - I gotta tell you, that has happened to me, everybody.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: I’ll tell you what. It’s a backpedal all the way.

Emerson: It is. It is.

Jim: I am so sorry. I’m just really frustrated.

Emerson: Well, it comes back to the fact - exactly. And I think most people are empathetic if there’s a degree of humility. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t be talking like this. This is out of character for me, but I’m frustrated. If we put in all these caveats, most people are gracious because yesterday they were upset, particularly if we don’t take it out on them. You know, some of us get all upset and bent out of shape with people who are not in positions of authority. They’re not the ones that can do something. They’re not our enemy. And so it’s crucial that we step back and ask ourselves, “Is this really being caused by this person, or is this situation just revealing who I am?”

Jim: In fact, Emerson, uh, that really rolls into your third point, which is the necessity of it. Is what I’m about to say necessary for the conversation? This is probably one of the greatest gut checks you should have before you say something and before you hit send. Is what I’m about to say really necessary? What’s kind of that - the click that you go through? Uh, is it necessary for enhancing the relationship? Is it necessary for expressing God’s love to this (laughter) person or my strife right now? What is that conversation you have in your head?

Emerson: Well, I think the first thing, if it’s true and I can say it kindly - you know, so it’s - I know what I’m about to say is true, and I also know that it’s going to be said lovingly and respectfully. But is this really the time? You know, maybe they’ve been up all night.

Jim: Oh, that’s good.

Emerson: You know. And so there is this sense of timing. Do I need to - you know, “There’s a time to speak,” Ecclesiastes says, “and there’s a time not to speak.” There’s a time to be silent. And so part of it is a timing issue. Do I need to say it now? Do I need to say it at all? So that’s the broad brushstroke. But I think, even in the situation with the person that we’re talking to and the major, uh, you know, cell phone bill and so on, so forth-- is it necessary for me to say all of this to this individual who’s not in a position to take that information and do anything with it? And so I’m just venting because it’s going to make me feel better. But at the end, I’m kind of like a - a flamethrower, and they’re sitting there, you know, burning with information that wasn’t necessary for me to speak. And that’s where all of us have to step back. Is it really necessary for me to say this to this individual right now?

Jim: Emerson, that raises a great point, especially in our culture here in the U.S. I’m sure in Canada it has some similarity because it’s Western civilization. But we - we place a lot of value on me. (Laughter) You know? How I feel, how I’m doing. And what you just said catches my attention, because does it make me feel better if I can vent? Have we kind of lost ourselves there a little, to say what makes the other person feel more comfortable? That’s kind of the Golden Rule, isn’t it?

Emerson: Well, again, it is. And this is where, in businesses or wherever, if you’ve got an empathetic person on the other end who says, oh, Jim, I am so sorry. You know, this is unacceptable. I am - I am so sorry that this has happened to you. And what can I do to make that right? That’s what people want the other person to say to us. And when they do, our shoulders relax. And I think perhaps there are a whole lot of people out there who are carrying this chronic upsetness, and they’re looking for people perhaps to sue them. (Laughter) And so if I blow a gasket, maybe that person will heal me.

Jim: It’s also a great way for the Christian community to show a difference, though. Because it seems like, again, the whole culture is responding like this. Where we can be different is to say, “Listen, I’ve had a bad day. I really got a problem. I’d love for you to help me fix this. I may get upset. But (laughter) thank you for helping.”

Emerson: Yes. Well, I was just reading. Right now, it’s coming out - uh, stewardesses and - and people on airplanes are saying who is it that they will make sure gets an upgrade, right? And it’s all this, because all the people who fly is - yeah, what is it? What’s really going on? And it says - this is one word. The - most of them are females. It’s the individuals who are nice to us - who are nice to us.

Jim: (Laughter) That sounds like a proverb.

Emerson: Well, it’s - the whole point is it’s human nature, that - why is it that we can’t figure this out? We can get - if we’re really that self-interested, if it’s really about me, will I be able to get farther down the road in this conversation if I have a graciousness about me, there’s a kindness, that I’m only saying what’s necessary? You know, I’m not saying, “And one more thing while I’ve got you on the phone!” We are contained. I believe, with all my heart, that people who conduct themselves will advance far quicker farther. It just works. Now, on any given conversation, it won’t work. But I have learned through these principles that when you apply them, it’s amazing how doors open for us.

Jim: So we’ve got truth. We have kindness. We have, is it necessary? And then we’ve got clarity. Are we being clear? Hit that one for us.

Emerson: Well, and the first three come from Socrates. He’s credited with that. That was what I heard in that chapel that day. Before you speak - is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? And something just clicked in my soul. It - just like, that’s it. I wanted to be a good communicator. And it was just like, wow, that can become my checklist. It’s not overwhelming to me. I have to commit to this. But in the long run, is this going to be to my benefit? I was self-focused enough to say, “I have a hunch if I operate this way, I’m going to stay out of trouble.” Right?

Jim: (Laughter) That’s...

Emerson: And - and particularly because I went to military school for five years, from eighth grade to - to 12th grade. I was in charge of 300 cadets when I was 18. And I - I look back on all the stupid things I said. So now I’m - and now I come to Christ. I come to Wheaton. And I’m thinking, I got to do this better. You know, I can’t use anger. There are things that were in me that so-and-so were - and I really wanted to do this well. But over the period of time I began to apply those three, andpeople were saying, “What’s your point? You know, I - I don’t quite” - you know, and I said, “Well, I know what I mean. I just can’t say it.” And someone said, “If you can’t say it, you don’t know what you mean.” And I began to have this pushback. I’m not clear. You’re - you’re not clear, Emerson. Yeah, maybe what you’re saying is true and kind and necessary, but I - I’m kind of lost in the weeds here.

And so for me personally, I began to try to write down what it was that I was trying to say so that I could be clear, ‘cause I had a way of not being clear in my own case. Now, since then, we’ve done research on these four things. We did a national study. We put in some big dollars on this. And all four of these - and the - the researchers came back and said, “From a statistical standpoint, these are distinct. They’re like four legs on a table. And if one of those legs is missing, you’re gonna have a poor communication. They don’t overlap. They’re almost at a 90-percentile distinction, which statistically says “This is unbelievable.” You say something’s true and - and kind, they’re not the same. If you say something’s true that’s not necessary, they’re - they’re not the same. If you say something true that’s not clear, they’re not the same.

If - so then I began to say to myself over the years, “Is that which I’m about to say - is it true, is it kind, is it necessary, is it clear?” And I had to ask myself, “Does it really matter to me, or am I so spitting mad here I don’t care anymore? Or do I have enough self-interest and my reputation is important to me in what I want to do in terms of influencing people and not undermining my own credibility, am I willing to abide by these?” And sometimes I’d have to wait 24 hours because I wanted to send that email. I wanted to, you know, vent. And so sitting on it, having Sarah read it, having other people who I - were confidantes before I would do something - and particularly, like, with my sarcasm, which I thought was funny. People, as you pointed out earlier on, you can just be very matter-of-fact, and they think you’re mad at ‘em. That’s why people are what I call emoticoning themselves through life. They’re putting the smiley faces to everything through their, uh, written communications because they don’t have enough confidence that that comment that I just made isn’t gonna be misunderstood. And so I applaud that. That’s the attempt to compensate. Because when we don’t have the interpersonal where you can see yhe--

Jim: The body language and the rest. Yeah. Tone.

Emerson: Yeah, the body language and the twinkle in the eye. You know, you smile a great deal. You say things with smiles. And so - but if that doesn’t come through, see, they always see you as smiling at ‘em - sure. So you send a little one sentence, they think you’re mad because they don’t see your smile.

Jim: (Laughter) Right. I’m just saying, “Where’s that report?”

Emerson: That’s right. Must be mad.

Jim: They hear, “Where’s that report?!”

Emerson: Exactly.

Jim: Yeah, exactly.Um, Emerson, this has been terrific. I’ve got one more question for you. And I’m gonna come back in a minute. I’m not even gonna let you think about it.

Emerson: OK. (Laughter)

Jim: So, uh - but we’ll be right back with that. Folks, this is a great resource. When you look at the things that you encounter each and every day, certainly devotional time and reading the scripture and knowing what the word of God has to say about your life and about those around you is critically important, something you need to do. Helping you better interact with people, either with your tongue or with those, uh, emails and those messages you send digitally nowadays, is also important, uh, because it sets up the basis for your relationship. And hopefully, in all of our relationships, we’re pulling people closer to Christ, including ourselves. And that’s why Emerson’s resourceBefore You Hit Sendis such a valuable tool.

John: Yeah. And we’ll encourage you to get a copy from us. When you do, you’re supporting the ministry of Focus on the Family. And, uh, we’d invite your call, 1-800-232-6459. 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. Or stop by our website and, get a copy of the book, a CD or download of our conversation. And while you’re there, take our Listener Survey to help us, uh, better prepare programs like this one. Focusonthefamily.com/radio.

Jim: In fact, John, again, this is that kind of resource - uh, if you can send a gift for any amount to Focus on the Family, we’ll send this wonderful book - this tool, this resource in order to help you and that’ll be our way of saying thank you for supporting other families here at Focus on the Family.

Emerson, here - here’s the point I was gonna make.Let’s say, uh, I’ve hit send - or even better, I’ve used my tongue in a poor way. That can be a disaster. Uh...

Emerson: It’s called the oops.

Jim: That could be the send, or it could be the word you’ve spoken. What do you do once you’ve done it?

Emerson: Right. Well, there are several ideas. That’s the oops. And at the end of the book, we talk about, how do you recover from that moment? And the beautiful thing, again, is that no person speaks perfectly. “The tongue is not bridled perfectly” - James is saying that. There - we can’t do that perfectly. So there’s always going to be error, unfortunately. And, uh, the challenge, then, is how do we recover at that moment in time? And I just say do it quickly. If you know your brother has something against you. “Lay your gift at the altar,” Jesus said, and “go immediately.” The idea is do it quickly. And just - don’t try to justify. Just simply say, “I was wrong for those comments. I - will you forgive me?” That’s usually the - the safest and the best approach. Whether they forgive you or not, that’s really their decision.

Right now, for instance, businesses, after they interview someone, go to the person’s Facebook. Why? Because Jesus said, “The mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.” But there’s also something for all of us who are believers-- we ultimately speak before an audience of one. Jesus said, every careless word that we speak, we will give an account for that. I mean, that’s a... that’s a staggering thought.

Jim: That really is.

Emerson: That’s an intimidating thing. So each of us need to have a prayerful attitude. Lord, ultimately, I’m saying these things not to this person, but I’m ultimately speaking before you in that everything that I say that’s careless, I’m going to have to stand before you. I don’t know how that’s going to play itself out on the Judgment Day. I just say, “Don’t mess with it.” Don’t - don’t - don’t mess with this. Try to say, “Lord, you know what? This is your call in my life, to be an effective, credible communicator. And - and I’ve made a decision that that’s who I’m going to be, even though the people in my world upset me more than they should.”

Jim: Well, it all beautifully fits under this wonderful banner called the Golden Rule. Treat others the way you want to be treated. And I’m so grateful that Jesus instructed us in that way.

Emerson, thanks for being with us.

Emerson: Thank you, Jim. Thank you, John.

Closing:

John: It’s always a great conversation with Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. And, one more time, you can make a generous donation; get a copy of his book and a CD or download of our conversation at focusonthefamily.com/radio. And while you’re there, be sure to take just a few minutes and answer our Listener Survey. Your input is valuable to us as we plan programs for the coming days, weeks and months.

And join us again next time as we hear from Dr. Gary Chapman. He has hope for couples.

Teaser:

Dr. Gary Chapman: You may think you’re standing still. But if you think that, you’re really drifting apart. And so, the key issue is-- somebody has to take initiative to make things better.

End of Teaser

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Guest

Emerson Eggerichs

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Dr. Emerson Eggerichs is an internationally known public speaker on the topic of marriage, parenting, communication and more. Based on over three decades of counseling as well as scientific and biblical research, Dr. Eggerichs developed the Love and Respect Marriage Conference which he presents to live audiences around the country. This dynamic and life-changing conference is impacting the world, resulting in the healing and restoration of countless relationships. Dr. Eggerichs has authored several books, including Love and Respect, which is a New York Times bestseller, Platinum and Book of the Year Award winner, and has sold over 1.6 million copies. Emerson and his wife, Sarah, reside in Grand Rapids, Mich., and have three grown children. He is the founder and president of Love and Respect Ministries.