Have you ever been in a conversation with someone that didn’t make good eye contact with you? It is very likely that within a very short period of time that you started to ask yourself the reason for this. Also, the opposite could apply if a person was giving you too much eye contact. This would probably make you feel quite uncomfortable.
It is very important to understand how using appropriate eye contact effectively in communication can either improve or hamper the sharing of the Gospel message.
“Ears that hear and eyes that see— the LORD has made them both” Proverbs 20:12
“The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! Matthew 6:22-23
The word ‘eyes’ is mentioned often throughout scripture, which isn’t really surprising considering how much we use them every day. The word of God not only challenges us on what we look at, but how we look at them. The Message Bible covers the scripture above in this way, “Your eyes are windows into your body”.
The scripture that comes to mind though, is where Jesus was talking to the rich young ruler. It says, “Jesus looked at him and loved him. ‘One thing you lack,’ he said. ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me”. Mark 10:21
In the natural by looking at the young man, Jesus was able to read what he was really thinking. Through the Holy Spirit, He was able to completely discern the thoughts of his heart.
Firstly, in all Gospel sharing, it is vital that we rely upon the guidance of the Holy Spirit. He is the one who opens the heart. God has gifted some people to be great communicators, but without the Holy Spirit giving a person a revelation of the truth of God’s word, we can save nobody. God gives the increase. We must never forget that.
We read a great deal of information about people through the eyes when we are communicating. God designed us that way. It is truly wonderful how he made the connection to our brains to gather and process information in milliseconds. He is amazing!
It has been said that the eyes are the messengers of the soul. No doubt in the past you have not, “Seen eye-to-eye” with an individual. Some people can even, “Turn a blind eye” to certain things. Perhaps you may have cautioned someone saying that a subject or individual is, “More than meets the eye”.
In the book of Psalms, the writer says, “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings” Psalm 17: 8
What does good relaxed eye contact do when we are in conversation? Understanding how it plays a crucial role in communication is essential. For a start, when you are witnessing for Christ it is a very good sign that a person is listening to you, along with nonverbal signals such as nodding the head and leaning forward.
Making eye contact simply occurs when two people look at each other’s eyes at the same time. Since the 1960’s psychologists have had the belief that it has had a very large influence on society and social behaviour. Today, people read good eye contact as a sign of self-confidence, sincerity, respect, and good communication. It is a must when sharing the good news. It is also important to be aware of the fact that customs, as well as the significance of eye contact, can vary between societies as well as religions. This is vital to remember when witnessing to people from different cultures.
Key Point: Good eye contact is a sign of self-confidence, sincerity, respect, and good communication. It is a must when sharing the good news
The truth is that not all people find making eye contact with others easy, especially with strangers or people that they don’t know well. This can be very evident when shaking hands with someone. As a sales trainer, I would teach trainees the importance of watching the persons eyes during the handshake. In simple terms, it relates to the person’s level of confidence. If the person broke eye contact during what is an important part of an introduction it would mean that the sales person would have to work hard on convincing the customer that their product or service was the right one for them.
When we witness for Christ we need to ensure that we make use of nice relaxed eye contact. Not staring at someone like a boxer does before a prize fight, or by using a serial killer stare which would make most people feel very uneasy. Rather, we need to look into a person’s eyes naturally, breaking contact momentarily every five seconds or so. This will mean that your listener will not feel pressured or uncomfortable.
If you find doing this a little difficult, you can try looking just above the eyebrows or at the person’s nose. This works really well (As long as you are not too close). This will help you a great deal and enable you to feel more relaxed. Within a short period of time, you will soon be looking at your listener’s eyes. As a great mentor taught me, “Do what you fear and the fear will disappear”.
If you are able to make good relaxed eye contact, witnessing, building bridges and sharing the Gospel will become more effective. I am absolutely certain that Jesus and all of the apostles made appropriate eye contact as they witnessed.
What do you do?