Taking Responsibility for Bad Conversations posted by jwatson on Mar 07, 2012
This is the first post in a series of blog posts entitled “Chit Chat” where I will focus on one of the critical aspects of sharing the good news and making disciples – communicating well.
“He just doesn’t get it!” – This is a common expression we make when after trying to explain something and utterly fail, be it the gospel, mathematical equations, origami instructions, so on and so forth. Sometimes it is true that “he just doesn’t get it”, but very often, we forget that another huge factor is that “we just can’t convey it”.
In any process of communicating something, we must learn to take responsibility for the way people respond. “He just doesn’t get it” implies that we expect people to always understand us. “We just can’t convey it” implies that we need to start taking responsibility for a conversation gone wrong.
The words that we choose, the stories that we tell, the signs that we make, all play a part in creating an environment for a person to engage us in conversation. Making a concerted effort to find out more about the people we interact with can dramatically change the way we relate to others.
What about “being real”, or “being true to myself”, then? Well, it is important to point out that God uses different approaches to various people, yet His message is always the same and perfect.
Consider this: God pleaded patiently with Abraham, satisfied the intellectual doubts of Thomas, scared the living daylights out of Paul, whispered in a still small voice to Elijah, humored the insecurities of Gideon, to communicate one consistent message: Trust Me.
(I urge you to mix the methods – Imagine God speaking to Paul in a still small voice, and doing the fleece exercise with Thomas…)
Food for thought before signing off: If “being real” means you are not going to bother finding the best way to relate to another person; that you are not going to think before you talk; that you are not going to factor in how a person might respond to you, then “being real” sounds a little selfish, doesn’t it?
Let us continue to pray that the Holy Spirit will always quicken us on how to relate to people we meet.