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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Body Language (11/25/10)

TITLE: Non-Verbal Cues Reveal
By Edmond Ng


    And He stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, "I am willing; be cleansed." And immediately the leprosy left him. (Luke 5:13 NAS)
It is no secret that people can detect our attitudes and level of interest on a subject by observing the way we carry ourselves before them. Non-verbal communication such as body language can reveal how we think about something or feel towards someone, and sometimes even disclose what is in our hearts. This is why some people are interested in the study of body language—because it helps identify the truth from a lie. Unlike verbal communication, non-verbal communication is usually done unconsciously. We may be able to plan the words we want to say, but we rarely can plan when we blink, smile or use other gestures during conversations.

According to Positive-Way.com, up to 93 percent of communication is non-verbal, and that includes tone of voice, eye movement, posture, hand gestures, facial expressions and more. Staring or gazing at others can create pressure and tension, while maintaining eye contact can reveal whether a person is trustworthy, sincere or caring. Shifty eyes and too much blinking can suggest deception, while people whose eye movements are relaxed and comfortable, yet attentive to the other are regarded as sincere and honest. Vocal cues like tones of voice, volume, emotion, pace and the likes reveal attitudes. Bodily cues, such as hand-to-face gestures or shrugs, are strong markers of possible deception. Hand gestures or signals can communicate without the use of speech. Touch can indicate friendship or aggression, while movement toward or away from someone can convey dominance, assertion or avoidance.

The Gospels mentioned on many occasions how the Lord showed compassion and willingness to heal the sick (Matthew 20:34; Mark 6:34; 8:2). When a leper saw Jesus and fell on his face to implore Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean," Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed” (Luke 5:12-13).

This incident reveals something about body language. Although it is not explicitly stated in the Bible any eye contact between Jesus and the leper, it is clear that Jesus must have shown compassion because He willingly stretched out His hand and touched him. The touch of Jesus is of friendship, not dominance, assertion or avoidance. Our Lord’s vocal cues—the tone of His voice, the volume, emotion and pace—must have revealed love and compassion and put the leper at ease, without pressure or tension. In like manner, when the leper saw Jesus and fell on his face to implore the Lord, his posture, eye contact, vocal cues, gesture and facial expression must have revealed his heart.

When we come before the Lord, do we come to Him with a broken and contrite heart or do we carry untruth and insincerity in our hearts (Psalm 34:18; 51:17)? God does not need to see our body language to know our hearts (Psalm 44:21; Jeremiah 17:10), but are we, like Jesus, filled with compassion for others? Are we willing to stretch out our hands to touch those who are in need? Are we showing nonchalance toward people around us?

In whatever we do, therefore, let us do it with sincerity of heart, knowing that from the Lord we will receive our reward (Colossians 3:23-24). Let us not do anything from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than ourselves; not merely looking out for our own interests, but also for the interest of others (Philippians 2:3-4). Unless we do all things from a sincere heart, our body language can give us away and disclose to the world how much we really care.

Dear Lord, forgive us for sometimes doing things without sincerity of heart. We know Lord our hearts can never be hidden from You, and even if we attempt to hide our feelings from others, our body language can reveal much to dishonor Your name. Help us dear Lord to always stay truthful and sincere at heart when doing the things we do, especially while caring for others. Mold us Lord to be more and more like You that we may with a heart of compassion reach out to others without giving them tension or pressure.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Lollie Hofer12/03/10
This is a thought-provoking devotional reinforced by scripture and Biblical characters. Well done. (The only "red ink" I would give it is an occasional personal antecdote would pull your reader in even more.)
Noel Mitaxa 12/03/10
Congratulations on recognising the undercurrents within our connections with others, without getting lost in introspective speculation that ignores what is obvious. I'm not sure if your meant "clues" instead of "cues' in your title, but you have zeroed in on our openness to God, who sees our hearts - deeper than our words and our gestures. Very well done.
Cheryl Harrison12/04/10
Very good. You are right. God doesn't need to see our body language to know our heart, but but other people rely on it. Sometimes the best way to show compassion is through a warm hug. Good job.
Gregory Kane12/04/10
A fitting and uplifting devotional. I do wonder to what extent body language is culturally directed. For example when I lived in Zimbabwe, I would sometimes walk down the road holding another man's hand; here in the UK such an act would send quite a different message entirely! I wonder, but don't know, just how touchy-feely people would have been in Jesus' day. An interesting point to ponder.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 12/05/10
This is so fitting. You did an excellent job of bringing the topic into this wonderful devotion and wrapping it up with the perfect prayer.
Cheryl Harrison12/06/10
Creative take on the topic. Good job.
Colin Swann12/07/10
A very informative piece well on topic. Thanks for the devotional study! Colin!
Henry Clemmons12/07/10
A very enjoyable devotional. Well written and ministered its point extremely well.
Melanie Kerr 12/07/10
I liked the structure of your devotional - beginning with a principle, giving a Bible illustration of it and then encouraging is to apply it in our lives. Good writing.
Rachel Phelps12/08/10
Excellent thoughts.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 12/09/10
Congratulations for placing 14th in your level!