Everyday Spiritual Conversations (Week 2) – ENQUIRE, DON’T DISAGREE!
Billy Graham said. “No matter how logical our arguments or how fervent our appeals, our words will accomplish nothing unless God’s Spirit prepares the way.”
“Careless words can erode our credibility” and add to what in many cases is already a dim view of Christianity. Recall the scripture from last week? “…the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 4)
When we are looking for an opportunity to converse with ‘not-yet-Christian’ people, we are talking to people whose minds are blinded, for now. Unwise, unrestrained, and not-in-the-Spirit disagreement is in my view an ineffective way of leading people to Christ.
I wonder if at times Christians are perceived in our communities as the “disagreement people”? The words we’ve used, our tone and our posture have given a certain message. It’s not intentional? But the message we send is, ‘we don’t agree with you, and we don’t accept you’.
Doug Pollock says “Acceptance does not mean endorsement. When we confuse the two, we destroy the very space God wants to work in”. Jesus himself used language familiar to the day and adopted a posture that built bridges and opened doors. I would suggest we learn to do the same. If we are to engage people in conversation, it won’t be long before people are saying things we disagree with – and this is certainly so when it comes to the big questions of life.
Great questions, phrases and good listening skills validate the hearer, help them feel heard and valued, create space for God to work in, or rather we’re then working in the space God is in! By speaking in questions and stories, you can engage people in conversations that would probably not have happened otherwise. By holding your tongue, you disagree without ever really saying you disagree and by engaging the conversation, you might just discover more of who they are, of where they’ve been, and of what is going on in their heart.
The Bible says in Colossians 4:5-6. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Jesus modelled an approach that engaged every-day people in every-day conversations that ended up touching the heart. If God’s heart is for the lost ours ought to be also. Let’s look out for and be ready for the opportunities with people – and do the same!