How can we love questioners well?
This simple question lays bare my heart toward people asking questions, which leads me to ask myself: Do I really view others as made in the image of God? I mean, really view them that way? If I’m honest with myself, not always! This gracious recurring theme to love others first that runs throughout RZIM’s apologetics is wonderfully challenging because it constantly reminds me to check my heart attitude first before responding to a question.
Vince and Jo Vitale offered several pointers I find helpful in orienting myself this way to a questioner:
- Don’t treat someone like a project, getting them from A to B, but with love.
- Invest in someone as a person, helping usher them into a relationship with Christ.
- Paint a portrait of who Jesus is.
- What is the heart issue behind the question?
I think trying to understand someone’s heart issue behind a question is key to developing a relationship of mutual trust. I haven’t gotten as good at this as I’d like. I am working on becoming a better listener and not just waiting to speak while someone’s talking, forming points and canned answers, as Jo pointed out.
How can we follow Jesus’ example in how we respond to objections to Christianity?
Vince made some very good points for practice in doing this, first, by reminding us of how Jesus used parables in Mark 4. The key points for me are:
- What are people hearing me say? Is it helpful, truthful, edifying?
- Do I use the best words for the context of the question?
- Honor people for their questions, strengthen them in the asking.
- Look for the good in another’s views, even if they conflict with my own; find common ground and work from there.
I really like what Jo said about this last point: the deeper our discussion goes, the easier it is for Jesus to walk into.
Vince also made clear a most useful linkage regarding questions: Hear the question , see the concern contained in it, and identify the desire that lies at the root of the question.
All of these points will certainly change my approach to the next conversation I have about objections to Christianity.
Thank you, Olivia, for posting the podcast and questions. And thank you, Jennifer and Brian, for your encouraging insights.