Friday, November 23, 2012

Why don't they listen to my good advice?

Something I have just learned about trying to share the truth with others, knowing what is true is only half the battle.  In fact if sharing the truth is the battle, knowing it only brings you to the battlefield and showing up is no guarantee of success.  There is a lot of good study out there on putting on the whole armor of God.  If I am going into battle with only truth than I am showing up on the battlefield in only a belt. Even if I bring a shield of Faith and a shining breastplate of righteousness I still have no means to engage anyone.

In a very practical sense, just having something to say does not mean those who need to hear it will listen. Even if I am a perfect sphere of knowledge, I will not be able to make anything more than a deflecting contact with any other body. Spheres do not stack nor connect in any way. In fact they are only able to stay still on the most level of surfaces.  What are the chances of finding someone who is that level?

To go at someone with only knowledge of what is right, even if well-intentioned, will only be perceived as an attack or challenge to fight or flee from.  If you tell a child in an urgent tone, "don't touch that, it is hot" you most often will cause that child to cry.  This response is part of our nature and does not go away as we get older. It only becomes more sophisticated.

So what then is the solution?  Continuing with what Ephesians tells us, there is no better tool to have than "the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God." So if I sharpen my knowledge of God's word, the bible, I will be more empowered to pierce the defenses other put up to resist hearing the truth.

However it was Ephesians 6:15 that spoke to me; "And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;" that is to say, recognize and apply the grace that God has shown me to allow me to be at peace with Him. We are all unworthy sinners incapable of making ourselves right with God but it is the gospel of peace, the way at which God gave us His Son as a new covenant, that cleared our debt.  This is what keeps us humble.  It grounds us to the reality of our own earthly origins and it is a direct connection with all of mankind.

A connection must be made before any sharing of truth and this is not just a connection with most people, it is the connection with everyone.  For sharing of information, a conversation, to take place both parties must be engaged otherwise I am alone on the battlefield.  I must first engage the other party, not with what I do know, but with what I don't know.  I am not a sphere of knowledge.  A sphere is only turned in on itself.  The truth I have cannot be changed but it also cannot be shared from within a sphere.  I must be open to new knowledge and new truths.  If new information challenges my truth, I will face that challenge with the full armor of God.

Recently I had been frustrated at my inability to share what I believe to be helpful information.  I asked myself why they avoided hearing what I had to say.  I wrongly focused on the other party.  I had learned a lesson a while back that I was stubbornly not applying to myself; "Therefore shall you lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul,..." (Deuteronomy 11:18)  In other words, God's word is for me, not the other party.  This should have been so obvious to me when I heard a sermon on Mathew 7:3, you know, "...the plank in your own eye..."  I remember pointing out the irony of that sermon; whenever it's given it is so well received that everyone who hears it can think of someone it their life it applies to.

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