A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.
Dale Carnegie quoted those words in his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, and for good reason. The truism has been stated in different forms for centuries.
If the apostle Paul didn’t read Dale Carnegie’s writings, then maybe the Holy Spirit caused him to avoid telling people they were wrong. Somehow he knew that his audience might nod agreement out of courtesy, but at the same time, people’s ears would be closed as they silently justified their beliefs.
When Paul stood on Mars Hill, addressing the citizens of Athens, he never said, “God forbids worshiping any other gods. Quit deceiving yourselves. Zeus, Apollo, and Aphrodite have no power either to help or to harm you, because they aren’t real.” If he had said that, his listeners would have called to mind all the evidence that “proved” their beliefs.
Instead, Paul built upon the truth already established, saying something like, “I see that you are very religious, wanting to give honor where honor is due. In your city, I noticed an altar inscribed for worship of the Unknown God. Let me tell you about him.”
The worst thing we can do is quote Scripture to an audience that doesn’t believe the Bible.
The best thing we can do is tell our stories in a way that will satisfy people’s hunger to learn how we have survived our struggles.
Be gracious with your stories, flavoring your message with that which will answer the hunger in everyone’s heart. — Colossians 4:6 paraphrase