I was at a conference this week and the church that it was being held at had a protester over the weekend who returned on Wednesday night. He was yelling out scriptures (out of context) and making statements about the pastor and the guest speaker of that particular night. No one was paying attention to this guy although his volume was very impressive.
I have a tendency to not respond well to people who are shouting things out at others. I’d like to get my own megaphone and yell back. Its just an idea I entertain and never do because ultimately that wouldn’t work. It doesn’t work because no one listens to people who are yelling at them, especially outside the context of relationship.
If we want people to hear us we must be willing to engage them in conversation. Sometimes we are just shouting at the world and thing that just turning up the volume will work. Now sometimes that means we physically turn up the volume but other times its saying something controversial just to get their attention. This guy was calling the pastor a “wolf” and saying that he was eating the sheep.
Sometimes we think our intensity will get our message across so we raise that up a level. We get passionate and appeal to emotions. Theres nothing wrong with emotions but they are best expressed in conversational contexts. Often church leaders love to make statements. Statements are great but some things are better love to one on one and smaller groups.
I know from time to time I’ve been asked to make a statement about something going on in the world or to address some current issue. I think there are times where we MUST be publicly vocal about injustice and pain. I think there are others times where things must be hashed out eye ball to eye ball. When Paul describes his confrontation with Peter he states he opposed Peter to his face (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Galatians+2:11&version=ESV).
Here’s a couple of rules I have for confronting others or speaking truth (I’m a work in progress):
- There’s a place for everything. Know if you are in the proper place to address something. What is that place? Be aware of where you are and the contexts of all those involved.
- There’s a time for everything. Sometimes its not “if” we should be saying it, it’s “when” we should be saying it. Some thing scan stay broke a little while longer. Some times anger must subside. Some things need immediately addressed.
- Don’t get caught in “gotcha’s”. We don’t share our beliefs on difficult issues like marriage, transgender, etc over the phone or through emails. We only do these face to face. We won’t even answer any questions about these unless we are looking someone in the face.
- Always mix grace with truth. No matter where you are on an issue, make sure when you are delivering truth you do so with grace. I ask myself if I’m reflecting the character of Jesus in HOW I’m saying what must be said. I really need to grow in this as a ENTJ/Enneagram 8!
- Seek to understand and then be understood. Ask some questions that help you understand those you don’t necessarily agree with. Try to see where they are coming from to get their picture. Knowing someone’s story helps you help them.
- Don’t take veiled shots. Social media is bad for this because it allows us to snipe at people from a distance without them ever seeing us. I say I can be REALLY BAD at this one but in 2019 I am endeavoring to be better. If you have something to say, then say it to their face. After that, let it rest. The ball is in their court.
What are some of your insights and best practices in this area? Comment below.