A few years ago, when I was off from work, I was up in my room checking my email when someone knocked at our door. I wasn’t expecting anyone so I was not really looking forward to who it could be. My thoughts were that it was either my landlord, a Mormon, or a Jehovah’s witness. I open the door to a guy about my age standing there. Now I was really confused because I had no idea who he was. Here is how our conversation went:Guy -“Are you the man of the house?”
Me – “Yeah, I guess” (I lived with 2 other guys at the time, so I didn’t really know how to answer that question)
Guy -“Yes!! You are not old, every house I have gone to has been old people yelling at me. So have you voted for any fat chicks in spandex?”
Me – “um no…?”
Guy – “Well here is what I am doing, I am selling magazines subscriptions so that I can go get stoned in Amsterdam, at least I am honest.”
I politely turned down his offer and he went on his way. After he left, I stood behind the door and took a minute to process what had just happened. I was blown away by the way he approached the situation and wondered if he had actually got that sales pitch to work on anyone. I guess he thought because I was young, had piercings and tattoos that I would understand his need to raise money to go smoke pot, but unfortunately for him he was wrong. And I still have no idea what he was asking with the spandex question.
Something God has shown me lately is that I can be the same way when I talk to other people about Him. It can be easy to see someone going through something tough and say, “You just have to have faith.” It can be easy to see someone hurt and say, “You just have to forgive.” It can be easy to see someone struggling with sin and say, “You just have to let God set you free.” While these things are definitely true, they aren’t usually the best way to get to the end goal I am desiring. People probably leave those conversations wondering if anyone has ever experienced a turn-around from hearing that.
Helping people can be a lot more about listening than it is talking. It can be a lot more about asking questions than giving advice. And that can be very hard at times (at least it is for me). Especially if it is in an area in which I don’t struggle. And if I am close with the people that also increases the difficulty. Around the holiday season it can get increasingly difficult because of drama in my family, but hopefully this year I’ll be able to do more listening before I start talking.
until next time…