My mother used to say, “People convinced against their will are of the same opinion still.” What did she mean by that? Maybe that’s a good topic for discussion.
Being courteous, people may nod as if they agree, but they really don’t.
Everyone has a worldview that is dearly held as absolute truth. Why? Because we have tried and tested our views for a lifetime. Valued so highly, they cannot be dismissed merely because someone says we should.
Even convincing arguments will seldom sway someone else’s opinion.
Drastically different political opinions exist on the left and right. Why won’t either side give ground and acknowledge the truth? Answer: they have no reason to listen to what they believe is a lie.
Unless I’m unusually open-minded, I’m not willing to listen to what others believe. And they won’t be willing to listen to me. Do you detect a communication difficulty here?
Nobody wants to be told their lifelong convictions are wrong.
Instead of telling people what I think, I’ll be more readily accepted if I ask them what they think. But here’s the catch: they won’t answer with openness and honesty if they think I already hold an opinion and won’t appreciate their points of view.
Questions with one right answer are good for teaching but bad for listening and learning.
People who are hungry for the truth are looking to build upon what they already think is true. Let someone tell them their beliefs are wrong, and they’ll become defensive, no longer listening.
When the teacher asks a question, we don’t want to answer unless we think we have the right answer. We don’t want to appear dumb by giving the wrong answer.
People learn best by discovering the right answer for themselves.
In this process, they are more likely not to be defensive and might even be willing to give up a wrong belief. That’s why I wrote The Discussion Bible, with thousands of questions most people have never thought to ask. There is no answer key, because most of the questions are for the open sharing of ideas that shouldn’t be judged as right or wrong. But these questions can lead each individual to their discovery of greater truth.
Use wisdom in being a witness for Christ throughout the day. Be gracious with your stories, flavoring your message with that which will answer the hunger in everyone’s heart. — Colossians 4:5–6