Communication! We have been taught the need for proper communication since our first argument on the playground with the kid who jumped in front of us in the line for the slide, but how old are we when we finally learn to practice what has been instilled in us all our lives?
The Israelites, during Joshua's leadership, had to learn a life lesson in communication. In Joshua 22, God had led the twelve tribes of Israel to conquer the land of Canaan. All the tribes had worked together to help one another. Now, the job was complete, and Joshua had given permission to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh to go back home. The land God had granted to them was on the other side of the Jordan River from the other tribes' land. When they returned home, they built an altar.
The other tribes felt this was an act of defiance against God. They gathered together to go to war against Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh. However, instead of acting impulsively, Joshua 22 tells us they chose ten leaders from the remaining tribes to talk or communicate with the three tribes they felt were in rebellion. The three tribes who had built the altar explained that it was not an unauthorized altar for sacrifices and burnt offerings, but instead a memorial for generations to come to remind them that they worshiped God as their fellow Israelites did across the river.
When the ten leaders heard the explanation, they were pleased. The altar was named, “A Witness Between Us that the Lord is God.”
Thousands of lives were saved that day because someone chose to communicate first before acting rashly. How many hurt feelings could be spared or untrue rumors could be avoided if we simply spoke and listened, both equal roles in that magical word we call communication?