Speaking behind another's back

Found this from David Augsburger’s Caring Enough to Confront as a reflection on Ephesians 4:13-15, “Let us speak the truth in love, so shall we fully grow up into Christ”:

When I speak: I want to speak simply. To say what I mean in the clearest, shortest, frankest words I know. I want to reach out with my meanings to meet your meanings. (Communication is a meeting of meaning.) Knowing that meanings are in people, not in words, I want to be as clear and open about my meanings as I can. (Words don’t mean. People mean.)

I want to speak personally. Since I can speak only from my experience, I want to say, “I think. . . ,” “I feel. . . ,” “I want. . . ,” instead of “People think. . .” or “You get the feeling. . .”. To declare my personal feelings and convictions calls for courage. There is no risk in saying, “Most people,” “it seems,” “sometimes feel,” “to some extent. . .” I will risk; I will reveal my true self; I will be increasingly vulnerable to you by respecting your perceptions equally with my own.

I want to speak for myself, not for others. I will not say, “We think. . .””they say. . .” “people feel. . .”or “it’s often said. . .”

I will not try to speak for you. I will not say, “I think you think I think. . . ” I will not try to second guess your feelings, thoughts, attitudes. I do not care for mind reading or mind readers. I want to listen as you speak to me, and respond.

I want to speak honestly. Truthing it is trusting others with my actual feelings and viewpoints. Avoiding honest statements of real feelings and viewpoints is often considered kindness, thoughtfulness, or generosity. More often it is the most cruel thing I can do to others. It is a kind of benevolent lying.

I want to speak directly. I do not want to talk about people when it is possible to talk to them. Whatever I have to say to you, I want you to hear first from me.

I’m rubbish at this – but it’s Lent so it’s worth being challenged.

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