When was the last time someone directly told you some fact, opinion, or idea and your mind was completely changed?
Having trouble? So am I.
Rarely have I won an argument and changed someone’s mind. I’ve lost many an argument and become more entrenched in my views. But one thing has helped me to reflect, consider, ponder, even reconsider long-held views: questions.
A good counselor knows that the process of change does not happen by mere transference of information or by force of logic. Persuasion happens as we challenge people to reflect upon their deeply cherished beliefs by asking good, probing questions.
Just consider Adam and Eve. They had eaten the forbidden fruit and hear the Lord coming. So they hide. How did the Lord address their sin?
“Where are you?” (Gen 3:9). “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” (Gen. 3:11). “What is this that you have done?” (Gen. 3:13).
Was the all-knowing God lacking the information so as to locate Adam and Eve? Did the all-powerful God not have the ability to find them? Absolutely not. But did Adam and Eve need help to confess that they had sinned? Did they need an opportunity to reflect that they had removed themselves from God? A thousand times yes! God’s approach was not with force of judgment but with the mercy of questions.
Jesus often asked questions to his hearers in order to provoke their hearts and minds. “Who do men say I am? Who do you say I am?” (Matt. 16:13, 15). “What do you want me to do for you?” (Matt 20:32). “Where is your faith?”(Luke 8:25).
One of Jesus’ primary tools for engaging his hearers was questioning evangelism. If Jesus used good questions, why shouldn’t we?
Too often, evangelism has been all about having the answers. We need to know the simple gospel, grow in answering a skeptic’s objections, and have a reason for the hope we profess (1 Pe. 3:15). Before we give an answer, however, we might want to know the story behind the objection, the question, the doubt, or the resistance. And who doesn’t like to be engaged and feel cared for by having someone ask a question of them and engage them?
So don’t be afraid of people’s questions. Care for their heart and soul. Ask a good question. You might be surprised what you find out as you listen, and how the Lord may be opening a door to belief as our friends and families hear the Saviour ask: “Where are you?”
Asking for more from the Lord,
Missional Action Plan: Read a section of Matthew (5-9), Mark (8-10), or Luke (10-12) and consider how Jesus engages with people by asking questions. Highlight the questions. Consider how you might use Jesus’ method to engage people you love.
Missional Action Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to be slow to speak, quick to listen, and willing to ask people good questions to open up spiritual conversations. Bring to mind questions that will help me to lovingly learn about others while opening up opportunities to give a reason for my hope in Christ. Amen.
As we gather for Sunday worship, we want you to meet with God and be transformed by the Word. Prepare your heart by reading the passage and listening to the songs for Sunday.