Covenant Marriage - Session 5: Communication from an Open Heart - David and Lisa Mitts
“Jesus answered him, "The first of all the commandments is: 'HEAR, O ISRAEL, THE LORD OUR GOD, THE LORD IS ONE. ” (Mark 12:29)
This is a direct quote of Deuteronomy 6:4, which goes on the speak of loving the Lord with all our heart and as Yeshua stated, our neighbor as ourselves. At the heart of these instructions is the sh’ma, the listening heart.
This chapter, we want to focus on how to develop a listening heart and unlock the love that comes from true communication.
The first foundation stone for true communication is the rock of listening to the Lord. Even though our goal is to listen to each other, we first need to have a heart that can listen. We cannot hear one another if we try to listen with natural ears and a natural heart. We need first o open our heart and mind to the flow of the voice of the Lord. This is called building our communication house on the rock.
““Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts on them, will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24)
The “house” that Yeshua is speaking of is our covenant relationships, especially our marriages.
I remember one example of this. Lisa and I were in an argument over what I can’t remember. But I do remember trading verbal punches. Suddenly amid it, I had this thought, “ask the Lord what is going on”. So, I directed a silent prayer to him for help. Immediately I had a vision of these toy robots of my childhood, called Rock ‘em Sock ‘em”. I realized that Lisa and I were on autopilot. We had lost our humanity in the moment and were just hurling comments back and forth. I realized that I had a choice and I reached out with an apology. Within moments the issue was diffused, and we both humbled ourselves and love was restored.
This is an example of the oneness that the Lord brings to our communication.
The second foundation stone is our own heart focus. A good portrayal of this is the parable of the sower in Mark’s gospel.
““Listen to this! Behold, the sower went out to sow; as he was sowing, some seed fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate it up. “Other seed fell on the rocky ground where it did not have much soil; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of soil. “And when the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. “Other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. “Other seeds fell into the good soil, and as they grew up and increased, they yielded a crop and produced thirty, sixty, and a hundred times as much.” And He was saying, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”” (Mark 4:3-9)
All our words are seed. This parable can be seen as a training in how we listen with our heart. The last statement clues us in, having ears to hear. Yeshua defines the purpose of the parable in the next verses:
“so that WHILE SEEING THEY MAY SEE, AND NOT PERCEIVE, AND WHILE HEARING, THEY MAY HEAR, AND NOT UNDERSTAND, OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT RETURN AND IT WOULD BE FORGIVEN THEM.”” (Mark 4:12)
The word translated “forgiven” is a direct quote from Isaiah 6:10 and in Hebrew, it is the word for being “healed”. Forgiveness is certainly relative to communication openness, but the result is a healing. The key is in the condition of the heart and how it listens. Yeshua drills this home as he interprets the parable.
““The sower sows the word. “These are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them. “And in a similar way these are the ones sown with seed on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; and yet they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution occurs because of the word, immediately they fall away. “And others are the ones sown with seed among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of wealth, and the desires for other things enter and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. “And those are the ones sown with seed on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundred times as much.”” (Mark 4:14-20)
These are 4 conditions of the heart that affect how we receive communication from others and from that receiving fruit has the possibility to come forth. All words are seeds and the fruits of communication in a covenant are the fruits of the Spirit, the chief among which is love.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
These are qualities that will be manifested in our relationships when we allow the Lord to deal with the condition of our heart. What is also true is that the only other alternative is the results of the flesh:
“Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: sexual immorality, impurity, indecent behavior, idolatry, witchcraft, hostilities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21)
The key to either the fruit of the Spirit or the deeds of the flesh, at least in the context of covenant relationships has to do with the listening of the heart. Ok. Let’s dive deeply into the parable about the heart.
The first heart condition that Yeshua describes is the snatching of communications by Satan. How does this happen? It happens through offense. Offense is a trap of Satan. Let’s look at how Yeshua speaks on this:
“Then He said to the disciples, "It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, 'I repent,' you shall forgive him."” (Luke 17:1-4)
First, we can see from the last verse that offense is undone by repentance and forgiveness. This is the first condition of the heart because it is the foundation of the rest. We will offend and will be offended. Yeshua declares that given we are human and our propensity for misunderstanding one another offending is part of the human experience. This is the snare of Satan.
The Greek word is “skandalon” and it is the picture of a trap that is designed to ensnare. This causes the communication of another to be snatched away. We’ve all experienced this trying to find a way through the land mine of an offended person. Once their spirit is closed to us, our reasons and excuses fall on deaf ears. This has the effect of drowning us in the whirlwind of the offense. The offended one becomes like a hurt child and shuts down all communication.
At this point the only hope is forgiveness from repentance. Yeshua is telling us how perpetual this situation will be, so we need to repent continually and seek forgiveness seven times or eternally.
Activation: Ask the Lord to search your heart to see with whom you have offense. Ask Him to reveal what about your heart needs to change. The key is communication. Act on what the Lord reveals.