There are ways of proper discourse and persuasion, and there are ways guaranteed to fail. The photo to the left sums up vividly how NOT to communicate with others if you want to persuade them. Our culture is filled with the ‘up in your face’ form of shock journalism and dialogue. Even in many Christian circles rudeness and speaking down to people is defined as spiritual boldness. We must do better, we must think biblically, and we must get our example from Scriptures and not from the latest fad in social media.
Here are some quick points (with some sarcasm) on how NOT to communicate:
Fail to Listen – we understand it all anyway, right?
Fight for the floor – if both are talking, keep raising your voice until they yield the floor.
Ad Hominem – fill the discussion with personal assaults and zingers to embarrass. (Or you could dress up to match their culture…see photo at top of post!)
Fail to ask questions – after all, I’ve already googled the subject, so I know what they would say.
Do not build a friendship – people are sure to open up most to the people they know least, right?
Do not ask for suggested reading from their viewpoint – reading their material may defile us and force us to think deeper about their position.
Force them to take your reading material – this will help the world of recycling as they toss it in the trash bin.
Become defensive when they challenge your position – the argument is more important than the person.
Realize there is nothing you can learn from them – surely all wisdom fills our shoes as we walk on water.
The ‘shoot them up’ and ‘win by overwhelming force’ evangelism of the past generation has gravely damaged the message of the gospel. It violates the innate worth of the person before us and pushes for decisions based upon fear and control instead of understanding and faith. We must learn to care, value, and listen to the hearts of those we desire to reach with the gospel, and this takes place only as we lay ourselves upon the altar of prayer and allow the Holy Spirit to break us of our pride and aloofness to others.
“The heart of the wise makes his speech
and adds persuasiveness to his lips.”
~ Proverbs 16:23