Examine communications through a biblical lens.

Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

Dr. Emerson Eggerichs and his wife, Sarah, present Love and Respect Marriage and Parenting conferences across the country. Eggerichs has also spoken to groups from the NFL, NBA, PGA, U.S. Navy Seals, and members of the U.S. Congress. In his newest text, Eggerichs applies the same principles found in Love & Respect but with wider application.

Before You Hit Send will inform and transform every sort of communication model. His formula for Christ-honoring communication is simple: Ask yourself is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? Is it clear?

Eggerichs commends Christ followers to examine their spoken (and written) words through the biblical lens of these four standards. Sitting in a chapel service at Wheaton College, Eggerichs recalls hearing a speaker espouse these guidelines for speaking. From that point on, he attempted to use them as a checklist, later adding, “Is it clear?”

“They captured the essence of competent and credible communication,” he says. “I knew they would prevent headaches and heartaches if I applied them consistently. Though I have failed too many times because I ignored this checklist of four, I also know that when I successfully communicated, it was because I stopped first and asked myself [these questions] before communicating.”

KINDNESS MATTERS

Eggerichs understands that faithfully applying these four principles can be difficult and risky. Still, he asserts that God’s Word supports these principles and includes 20 reasons why individuals can be tempted to compromise in each of the areas.

Underlining the essential development of kindness as a Christian character quality, Eggerichs says it shouldn’t simply be an add-on, inconsequential, second-tier attribute.

“Some folks have the attitude that when comparing truthfulness with kindness that truthfulness matters and kindness is marginal. However, the Bible instructs us to speak the truth in love. Truth without love causes the hearer to feel, ‘You aren’t saying this to me because you care but because you intend to club me with the truth you want to shame me,’” he says.

DO UNTO OTHERS…

Another foundational principle for Christ-honoring communication is the Golden Rule, which Eggerichs says is totally countercultural. He wants readers to understand that he is not telling individuals to be quiet, but they should “speak in a way that is the most effective to persuade.”

Eggerichs continues, “We must always remember, the point is to win the person, not just the argument. Instead of hitting ‘send’ when you know you shouldn’t, try it this way instead. In an age of demonizing those who think differently, we commit to being kind. In an age of post first and think later, we commit to communicating what’s necessary. And in an age of convoluted agreements, we commit to being clear.”

FRONT LINE OF MINISTRY

Eggerichs acknowledges that booksellers are on the frontline of ministry and as such, they provide an essential service, not only to their communities but to the kingdom. If a customer is difficult, Eggerichs recommends, “Be truthful— make sure you’re giving great advice and stick to the facts as you understand them. Be kind. You have no idea what events preceeded their interaction with you. Be necessary or appropriate by pointing them to the best resource you know, and upsell them only if it’s appropriate. Be clear, and that means really listening to what they’re looking for, knowing your stock, and explaining why the item is an exact fit.”

Eggerichs loves that bookstores and their employees approach potential buyers as Gospel opportunities. “As a bookseller, you’re right at the intersection of people motivated to grow and resources that change lives forever. It’s a great privilege, so carry great resources, know them, pray over them, and meet each customer as someone who wants to partner with you to grow.”

—Michele Howe

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