5 LEVELS OF CONVERSATION:
LEVEL 1: CLICHES---This is the necessary exchange, like Hello, Bye, How are you, good to see you.....Words said in passing. Very shallow conversation
LEVEL 2: FACTS AND REPORTS------Telling what has occurred, telling about the events and happenings in your day. Talking about the latest news, the weather, your kids, what happened at work or school, etc. 75 % of the conversation between husbands and wives stays at this level and most of our conversations never go beyond this level.
LEVEL 3: OPINIONS & JUDGMENTS-------- These are statements that need to be defended and they require that you open your heart and become vulnerable. They put you out there on a limb so to speak. This is a deeper level for someone who has earned your trust.
LEVEL 4: FEELINGS--------This is telling how life is affecting you. Remember that words can bruise or wound. Feelings are not right or wrong and you should not say to someone sharing their feelings, "you shouldn't feel that way". When something sad is revealed or a hurt has been revealed to you, ask questions that draw out their feelings, like" What did that do to you", or "How did that affect you". These probing questions show that you really care and you are not trying to dismiss their feelings. We need to become a student of our spouse so we can understand them on this level. This is a deep level of conversation and you should only enter this level when you have established a level of trust with a "safe person". We need to care why someone is hurting.
LEVEL 5: OPEN & TRUTHFUL EXCHANGES-------This is the deepest level and requires a rich, deep relationship in order to go here. This is where both open rebuke and affirmation occur and these words are always spoken in love after prayer and searching the scriptures. This level is never entered into lightly, but with much thought and prayerful consideration. If it does not cause us pain to rebuke someone, then we are Not in the spirit. Words are powerful!
Proverbs 18:21 tells us that the power of life and death is in the tongue.
COLOSSIANS 4:6---"Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer each person. (HCSB)
When Paul was writing to the Corinthians and rebuking them for their sin, he had tears in his eyes and sorrow. It caused him pain as he was writing this letter to them.
The story of the "Road to Emmaus" shows a great conversation when Jesus came along and talked with some of the disciples and they did not recognize that it was Him. Later they said, "Didn't our hearts burn within us" while the conversation was happening. (Luke 24:32)
There are many great conversations in the Bible that show us this deep level of conversation. Search them and study them for yourselves.
I KINGS 19 tells the story of Elijah after Mt Carmel when he was so downcast and the Lord came and ministered to him.
Daniel 4: 27 tells about Daniel confronting king Nebuchadnezzar. He took a great risk, but God had led him and prepared him.
Jesus and the Samaritan woman, King David when Nathan the prophet was sent to confront him, Moses and his father-in-law, Jethro who confronted him on how he was leading the people of Israel, etc. Search out these stories and others to see how the conversations went and what resulted from them.
We have a universal need to talk effectively to each other, so let's learn how to do it well in a meaningful way. It is important to remember that these conversations can also be between non-believers. Sometimes we think we cannot have real, meaningful conversations unless they are with a believer, but we miss out on some real benefits if we avoid these. These conversations sharpen you and help you grow and challenge you to really know what you say you believe.
Wisdom, prayer, timing, sensitivity----all of these are necessary for great conversations.
Great conversations start with great questions like: "what are your greatest challenges", "what is the Lord teaching you right now", "what is the best part about your life", or ask them to to tell you their story in 4 minutes and really listen. Great questions will open places within people that perhaps no one has touched before. Be an observer of people and have genuine love and compassion for them. Great conversation happens in the "cradle of great love"!!