Someone mentioned that to me and it has stuck ever since.
The counsel is timely, especially in circles where truth claims are criticized and those who express them, in extreme cases, are dismissed as anachronistic.
But is there a way to share your convictions without being snooty or insular? Here are 5 ways you can share your beliefs without being a jerk.
It is significantly harder to share unless you know what you believe and why you believe it. The “what” deals with the content of your beliefs and the “why” deals with the justification for your beliefs.
I’ve realized that the more unclear I am in either of these, the more insensitive I could appear to someone else. Consequently, the clearer I am able to understand the “what” and the “why”, the better I can articulate myself to someone else and prevent avoidable misunderstandings.
Knowledge is irrelevant if I do not listen.
Listening is the process of building a bridge between your experience and theirs. When they feel heard, people are not only willing to hear what you say, but are also willing to offer you their trust.
Stories are sacred. So the fastest way to boost your jerk-o-meter is to dismiss their story because it contradicts with yours or to ignore it because what you’re going to share is more important.
Listen to their story. God forbid, you may even learn something new.
Picture a container of water.
The force of the water out of the container is largely dependent on the size of its exit and the water pressure. i.e the larger the exit, the less water pressure. The smaller the exit, more water pressure.
Depending on how the amount of pressure and the size of the exit is calibrated, the same container can be used as a reservoir for a calming shower or for a lethal water jet.
You and I are pressurized containers of information.
Only when I listen to someone else and start from where they are, I’d know how to calibrate what to say and when to say it.
Because the right thing said at the wrong time is the wrong thing said. What was meant to comfort can, instead, cut.
As you share, realize your role and God’s:
Your role is to share if needed. God’s role is to translate it as needed.
Your role is to prioritize the relationship. God’s role is to bless it.
Your role is to be a safe place. God’s role is to transform that space.
Lastly, understand that God is bigger than your beliefs.
Humbling? Yes. But internalizing this has inspired me to delve deep into His presence while alleviating me from much avoidable heartache and stress resulting from “not sharing the truth.”
We are sharing truth whether we verbalize it or not. The posture of our hearts and the attitude of our minds do more to communicate what we believe than even our own words.
When you understand that God is bigger than your beliefs, you will also realize that His ways are higher than your ways ( Isaiah 55:9 ).
You will also feel liberated knowing that your effectiveness as a believer was never dependent on someone’s willingness to change their story.
Know, listen, start, realize, and understand. What else would you add to this list? Leave a comment below!