March 13, 2024

Caring Questions, Meaningful Communication

Written by Boyd Bailey

The Lord’s compassionate conversations with His child are an ever-present gift to receive and cherish.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – March 13, 2024

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Ephesians 4:29

Christian community groups have been a central part of our walk with Christ for over 30 years. My wife, Rita, and I have attended a Life Group (five couples committed to Jesus Christ and their marriage) for the past 12 years, meeting every three weeks for three hours. The first half of the evening is spent enjoying dinner conversation, and the last half is each couple taking turns to answer the question, “How is your marriage?” My temptation is to default to the shallow answer of “fine” instead of working harder to dig deeper with more transparency, like, “We disagreed two nights ago on how to discipline our teenage daughter; we need you guys to help us relationally repair.” After a dozen years of having these regular, meaningful conversations, we can laugh at each other’s quirkiness and emotional trigger points while still taking seriously the process of asking each other probing questions that lead to better caring conversations. 

The Apostle Paul is instructing the Corinthian Christians on how to respectfully and lovingly communicate with one another. He starts with a negative reminder, no corrupt communication. Foul, vulgar, and mean words only corrupt and contaminate character. After speaking hurtful words, there remains an air of shame, guilt, and disappointment. So, instead of tearing down (even truth spoken harshly is harmful), use words to build up so that in the process, grace is administered to the hearer. Like a physician who uses questions to diagnose a patient and then prescribes the best medicine for healing, so loving questions allow a listener to be heard, and then clarifying follow-up questions can help discern how the Spirit is at work in the heart. After a question is asked, wait, as silence is the space where God is at work. Pray as you wait.

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14).

Be patient in conversation. Avoid the temptation to blurt out what you think before you have a clear understanding of what the other person thinks. Consider developing your question-asking skills by learning a new vocabulary. Instead of the shallow, tired question, “What do you do?” Ask more probing questions: “What led you to your current career?” or “What values do you prioritize in your life and work?” More meaningful questions invite individuals to tell their stories. Much more interesting and much more personal indeed. As you hear themes like, “My job gives me the freedom to care for my aging parents,” then you have a much better understanding of the heart of where another lives. Your empathy to care in the conversation may be a natural transition for you to be vulnerable about a hard life issue you are facing. Caring questions lead to engaging conversations, which grow relational vulnerability, trust, and love.

Most of all, be vulnerable in your prayerful conversations with your heavenly Father. Listen to the Spirit’s compassionate questions, “How do you come today?” “What are your desires?” “What are your concerns?” “What are you grateful for?” As you are vulnerable with your Beloved, be open to His tender response of loving you in your anxious state and celebrating with you over your joyful experiences. The Lord’s compassionate conversations with His child are an ever-present gift to receive and cherish. Christ’s caring questions long to love you, His beloved.


Heavenly Father, I praise you for caring for my heart by asking me loving questions that draw us closer together in meaningful conversation through Christ’s love, and in Jesus’ name, amen.


Be intentional to prayerfully ask probing questions that help others tell their story in a manner that reveals their passions and concerns.

Related Reading

Psalm 19:14; Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:8, 4:6

Worship Resource

Terrian: Honestly, We Just Need Jesus


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