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The Voice of Love

A Mini Seminar on Respectful Language – Step 3





 To help us realize that our sense of respect for one another and the “voices “ we use to communicate it strongly influence our love relationships and unity within the Body of Christ.


Authors note: This lesson is powerful but also very complex. Be sure to work through it well yourself before attempting to teach it. It can easily take 2-3 hours to get through it.


Scripture Basis:


 Eph 4:29, Romans 12:10, Phil 2:3, James 1:19, Prov 15:1,4, John 1:14 & 17


Reference Materials:

Communications Connnection Workshop by Walk & Talk.



Inclusion Activitys: (As Appendicies)


·        The Voice of Introduction (Introductory Exercise)

·        Fading Love Discussion

·        Scripture Research and Translation Exercise on Respect

·        Aim at the Right Target,     

·        Covering all the Bases.



Introductory Exercise : The Voice of Introduction:



Have people pair off with someone they do not know. Take 2 minutes to have your first conversation assuming the other person is their most favorite US Senator.


Now have people pair off with the person in the group they know best. Take 2 minutes and have a conversation assuming you have just met again after not seeing each other for 2 days.


Brainstorm (collect on overhead or whiteboard) answers to the following questions.


1.      What was different about the two conversations ?

2.      Who do you hold in high regard ?

3.      When you speak to them what is different about your voice?

4.      As formality in conversation drops away from a relationship what happens?



Key Messages:


1.      As we become familiar with each other  there is a tendency for the words and tones we use to communicate to become disrespectful. (give examples)

2.      This tendency is almost built in to our  secular language of the day. (TV and its heros)

3.      Respect and respectful language are foundational to maintaining love relationships.




Exercise 2: Fading Love 


Pair up with someone you do not know. Discuss a love relationship that you once had in which the love faded away. What happened to make the love fade. Take 2 minutes and discuss with your partner.


Key Message:


I think that love is based on respect and when we lose respect for someone, our feelings of love tend to fade as well. For an attitude of love to be maintained, an attitude of respect must exist between the parties involved.


Exercise 3: Scripture Research and Translation 


Break up the group into small groups of 3 or 4.


Assign each to read the following scriptures in the KJV and NIV and then translate them into one of the following slang dialects: If lots of groups exist, have multiples for each style. Give groups 20 minutes and then after a short break, have them return and share their translations.


 Group 1: Valley Girl   ………….Rom 12:10 , Prov 15:1

 Group 2: Rap/Hood  ……………Eph 4:29, Prov 15:4

 Group 3: Country Western  …….Phil 2:3, Luke 14:11


Other Verses if more needed

1 Thess 5:12,  James 2:1,  Ex 20:12, Lev 19:32


Discussion Questions:


1.      How did the messages vary depending on translation?

2.      Did the message change any with loss of formality in language?

3.      Who are we to respect and give honor to?

4.      What does “honor” mean?




Key Messages:


1.      Basic respect for one another is a fundamental part of building good biblical relationships and enabling unity within the body of Christ, the church.

2.      Respect is basic to love and unity in marital relationships

3.      Respect has as it roots the valuing of another more highly than oneself.

4.      Our language and the “voices” we use are the primary method by which we communicate value to another.



Exercise 4: Understanding Our Voices


Introduce the concept of the following voices we use to communicate. Discuss each voice and its attributes. A voice includes tone, body language, words and inferences.


>> Show Appendix A provided and discuss the attributes of each voice.


The 1st 4 voices :


     Conversive          Authoritative       Tentative         Manipulative        


Break up the goup into pairs again and  this time with someone they know. After discussing each voice, have the pairs practice the voice and tone of each.


Key Message:


Each of these voices except “Manipulative” is appropriate to different circumstance but use of them outside their appropriate boundaries can be disrespectful. Manipulative language is the most common language on TV and in our informal culture today. Its use is at the heart of loss of respect. But what can we replace it with? The key challenge is to choose your voice when you are speaking. Don’t just let it happen. Intentionally select the best voice for the situation. Try and understand when a particular voice is appropriate. Use the Edifying voice when understanding is not forthcoming, when confrontations are required, or when deeper conversations are desired and Eliminate Manipulative language completely.



Exercise 5: Using the Edifying Voice


Now there is one other voice that is better than all the others. It is called the Edifying voice.


Display Appendix B and discuss the  “Edifying Voice”.


Next discuss the following detail of 3 of the aspects of the edifying Voice. These are found in Appendices C & D. Each Appendix explains each concept in more detail.


1.      Self Responsible Statements - (ie. the proper use of “I”".)  . Appendix C

2.      Valuing and Respecting the other  .. See Appendix D

3.      Differentiating between Thoughts, Feelings, Actions, Intentions, and Discernments – Appendix E.


Have pairs practice sharing about something significant that happened to them this past week using --




Key Message:


Today we need to very careful about clearly disclosing our thoughts, feelings, actions, intentions, perceptions and discernment’s separately. We have all become very well trained by watching TV mysteries to assume that behind every verbal message is a hidden personal agenda. Understanding what is really happening is the what the whole mystery is all about. But we must be careful not to carry this into our private lives for when we do it usually causes problems. Making sure we communicate our intentions early in a conversation is important, expressing our feelings without assigning guilt or cause and being clear what is a thought and what is a feeling all can help us be understood.  When we are understood and when we come to grasp the importance of something to another then and only then do we show true honor, true value.






        One of the best things God has blessed us with in this world is love relationships. The whole world seeks them, more music is written about them than any other topic and yet most of them fail in one way or another. Most begin with a great amount of respect for the other but over time the love dissolves as respect is chipped away.    When you respect someone and hold them in high esteem, you tend to use the Tentative voice and the Edifying voice. Why is it that as we become familiar we migrate so quickly to the Manipulative voice with its sarcasm and veiled messages of selfishness. When asked by a Jewish teacher of the law what was the greatest commandment Jesus said this.



"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' Mark 12:29-30 (NIV)



Now most of us have heard this and focus on the portion of the text which commands is to love the Lord with all your heart yet just preceding the command is an interesting statement about God. It says the “Lord is one”.  Is it possible that the goal of the greatest commandment is unity?  Is it possible that the goal of love is union?  I believe that intimacy and union are closely related and when they exist in a relationship, feelings of completeness,  fulfillment, joy and happiness follow.  These are at the end of the road of the love. Yet at the beginning and underneath it all is respect and value. I challenge you today to reconsider your voice and how you speak to those closest to you, those you love. For the voice of honor and respect is the voice of love.


*          *          *



Appendix A:


"Voices" of Communication


1.    Conversive - Goal is to Socialize


·       Non Threatening

·       Factual

·       Friendly

·       Tone is light                                

·       Used in Small Talk

·       does not handle deeper issues well


2.    Authoritative - Goal is to Direct


·       Instructing

·       Firm Tone

·        Use of Legitimate "You"

·       By one having Authority

·       Used in Teaching

·       Can convey a sense of arrogance


3.    Tentative - Goal is to gather information or learn


·       Questioning Tone

·       Non Conclusive

·       Non Threatening     

·       Seeks Facts

·       Used in Seeking to Understand and Brainstorming Ideas

·       Does not express your feelings well


4.    Manipulative - Goal is to Win


·       Over or Under Responsible

·       Blaming or Threatening

·       Loud or Abusive     

·       Improper "You" (Dummy)!

·       Devaluing "You Always"

·       Damages Respect and Relationships

·       Whining or Complaining

·       Sarcastic (2 Sam 6:12-23)

·       Common in arguments or situations of disappointment

·       Made popular by TV sitcoms



Appendix B:


5. The Edifying Voice - Goal is to Understand and Build up (Eph 4:29)


·       Comes from a place of valuing and respecting the other (Remember Ruth, Naomi & Boaz) 1 Peter  3:7, Eph 5:33 , & 1 Peter2:17

·       Requires a correct attitude and approach, Prov 15:1, 4, John 1:14,17 (gentle, gracious & truthful)

·       Seek first to understand and then to be understood.( James 1:19, Phil 2:3-4) (Quick to listen, slow to speak)

·       Self Responsible (Use of "I") used to convey  Observations, Thoughts, Feelings, Desires, Discernment &  Intentions

·       Tone is a little more formal (to convey respect)

·       Used for deeper intimate conversation or handling problems



Appendix C:


Responsibility Aspect of Voice


Under Responsible Language

§        Speaks for no one with phrases like "some people say" or "that may be the case". By attempting to agree with "everyone" the person shields himself from expressing their true thoughts an feelings.


Over Responsible Language

§        Speaks for everyone trying to make the listener feel trapped by a majority. Uses phrases like "everyone feels that way" or "of course you want to" or "everybody knows that!"  


The Better Way - Self Responsible Language

§         Speak for yourself, disclosing your true awareness about your thoughts, feelings and observations. Use the pronoun I in phrases like I think, I feel, I want, I saw, I heard or I will.








The Big Challenge

Choose your Voice ! Don't let it just happen!


Appendix D:

Valuing in Listening


·       Give full attention , looking at the other

·       Assume that the other has insight or information that you may not have. You may come to the conclusion at the end of the conversation that your insight is better, but do not assume it in the beginning.

·       Seek first to understand the other.

·       Do not interrupt even if you disagree with them.

·       Take an active listening role - Ask clarifying questions - - give feedback but don't insist on winning each difference of opinion

·       Let each point sink in. Don’t respond instantly to each

·       Encourage full disclosure of all observations, feelings, thoughts,

·       Express concern for them and what they are feeling.

·       Do not try and solve their problems for them unless asked

·       When strong emotional is present  remember, clarity of thought only comes AFTER expression.


Valuing in Speaking


·       Select a good time when there is enough time to skillfully deal with the issue. Not when rushed or tired.

·       Express your intentions early

·       Speak for yourself and Do not manipulate

·       Avoid blaming, threatening or use of sarcasm

·       Select your voice purposefully

·       Watch your tones and body language (Remember that when the non verbal message and the verbal message don't agree, the non verbal will be believed.)

·       Seek to be understood and to edify the other, not to win

·       Lead with grace, follow with truth.

·       Use Skillful Expression


Appendix E:











Skillfull Expression Covers All the Bases














       Skillful Expression Requires Clear Differentiation of all these items. Be sure to use the underlined key words to convey your true message! The order of these is not critical but it can help.


·       What is the goal of this conversation (address early    what your intentions are in bring up an issue)

·       What I observed (describe what you saw or heard)

·       What I felt (describe your emotions)

·       What I think (describe your thoughts)

·       What I desire (describe want you want)

·       What I discern (describe what God is saying to you)

·       What I intend now to do (describe what you plan to do)