Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Lord’s Servant Must Not Be Quarrelsome But Kind to Everyone

Today was a tough day. It started out innocent enough, appearing like just another day, shadowing yesterday and the day before it. But that, infact, was not the case. Goodness, my mind is full of thoughts and things I want to write but first I desire to take every thought captive and then go from there in a Christ honoring, God glorifying way.

Have you ever spoken to someone who when they repeated back what they thought you said, had it twisted, confused, and/or perhaps exaggerated? Maybe it didn't even resemble what you really said at all? For example:

Me: I feel we should work as a unit.

Person: That concerns me.

Me: Why?

Person: Because people either work as a team or go their separate directions. No one is the same.

Me: I didn't say I want us to be the same, I said I feel we should work as a unit, a team.

Person: No, you want me to think exactly like you.

Me: That's not what I said.

I wish I could give a better case in point but my brain feels so fried from really concentrating on the words that left my lips and what was being heard as they reached a listening ear today. Anyway, I guess the question on my mind is, how does one converse with someone who doesn't listen or even worse, becomes offended and/or angry by what they think they heard?

John Piper offers the following advice about what to say to someone who is depressed, doubting, skeptical, confused, and/or angry. He says,
1. Don't be offended.
First, resist the temptation to be offended. Don’t pout or take your ball and go home. That’s what you may feel like. They wanted to talk, and here they are throwing my suggestions back in my face with a dismissive attitude. Don’t leave. Not yet. “Love suffers long” (1 Corinthians 13:4, NKJV).

2. Listen.
Second, listen to their responses. Part of your power is not only what you say, but how they feel about the way you listen. If your truth produces empathetic ears, it will feel more compelling. This listening will be a witness. In 2 Timothy 2:24-26, Paul describes the kind of engagement that may set people free from sin and error. One feature is “patiently enduring evil.”

3. End with hope.
Third, when you have spoken all the experiential counsel you can think of, and they seem to have demeaned it all, don’t let them have the last word of despair. You leave the last word of hope....(Piper, John. "What to Say to the Depressed, Doubting, Skeptical, Confused, Angry". 2008.)

2 Timothy 2:24-26 speaks straight to my heart. It says,
"24And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will."
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