I am sure that all of you have heard that expression before. In fact, you might have told that particular expression to someone or you might be the recipient of it. The scenario usually occurs when emotions start to take over the content of the discussion. In fact, I can tell you that most likely the heart rate has gone up and we are breathing faster. But, I have also heard a variation of the same expression; “It is not what you are saying – It is your tone”.

This last expression says it all! Indeed, most of the time, the problem isn’t the content of what you said but the way you delivered the message.  You must know that I have meditated a lot about this particular issue because I find it to be a key component of interpersonal skills.

So I decided to check how Jesus communicated, especially in difficult moments.  I found an episode that demonstrates Jesus' knowledge of human psychology. You probably remember the episode of the adulterous woman who was going to be stoned.

“They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground." -  John 8:1-15

Imagine a very calm, tall male surrounded by a group of aggressive individuals. They set up a trap with the specific question regarding adultery. Jesus took His time, bent down and started to write something. Maybe He was just doing that taking His time, designing a strategy, choosing the appropriate words. The enigmatic Jesus slowly stood up and delivered a classic neutralizing statement, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

In the episode of the adulterous woman, He was able to demonstrate self-control when He faced the uncontrollable mob that was ready to stone the woman.

In this episode we can appreciate how the Lord was able to deliver His truth, a huge blow, but kept his coolness at all times. The fact is that raising the voice or using a lot of body language can stimulate aggressiveness. In fact, it is a well known phenomenon in human psychology “Aggressiveness breeds aggressiveness”.

People are going to react not only to what you are saying but also to the way that you are saying it.