‘Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.’ (1 Corinthians 12:27 NIV)
Are you a good communicator? We do not only communicate to one another by what we say or write, but also with the signals we make either consciously or unconsciously. Our body language can communicate to others far beyond simple words, whether they are spoken or written. For example someone attending a job interview can say to their prospective employer that they are comfortable and at ease with the interview, but their clenched hands and fidgeting on the chair communicate something else. A person can feign interest in what someone else is saying but their constant lack of eye contact gives the game away.
Interestingly, the Apostle Paul describes Christians, each one of us, as part of ‘the body of Christ’ which begs the question, ‘what body language are we communicating?’
We may say or write lots of good, positive and encouraging things but it is the way we conduct ourselves, the way we live our lives, that will communicate loud and clear what our values and convictions are. Our attitudes will convey the true message we have for people.
As an individual, local congregation, or a church, are we warm, friendly, and welcoming of others? Or are we self-absorbed and cliquish, barely noticing anyone outside our own little group? Our attitudes speak and communicate something to the watching world. Our words of love, acceptance, inclusiveness, and belonging can be stopped dead in their tracks if our body language denies them. Our words and our actions have to align otherwise, as Shakespeare might say, ‘something is rotten in the state of Denmark.’
As Paul shows us in this chapter, let’s resolve that our body language gives honour to all
(cf. v.23-24), that we have equal concern for each other
(v.25) as we suffer and rejoice together
(v.26). In demonstrating this
‘most excellent way’ [of love] (v.31) others will know that we truly are Christ’s disciples
(John 13:34–35) because he loved and gave himself for us. As that love of Christ in us flows out to others in practical sacrificial service our body language affirms what we say.
Now that’s effective communication.
Father, words come so easily and are cheap if they are not supported by our actions and attitudes of love. When I communicate, whether through the spoken or written word, or by the way I live, may people see the love of Jesus in me. A love that forgives, accepts, heals and reaches out to everyone. May that be my body language towards all I meet.
Have a good week honing your body language.