I thought I would make this “101” for preachers, but most of you are not preachers.
I thought about titling this “the most important thing to consider in communicating the gospel,” but I am going to trust your judgment a bit on what is most important for you.
So, if this isn’t most important, I maintain it is close.
Here it is:
If you are the one doing the communicating, and the person(s) to whom you are trying to communicate isn’t (aren’t) getting it, DO NOT ASSUME THE PROBLEM IS THEM.
Follow me here: I am not saying the problem is you. The problem may, indeed, be the other person. Or it may be you. Or it may even be somewhere in between.
But you, the one intending to communicate the gospel, build barriers if you immediately assume the other person is the problem.
I was taught this by a friend. This friend recently completed a 15 year prison sentence. We were chatting and I could tell I wasn’t communicating what I intended to communicate. SO I did what I do when words aren’t working and I’m in my office.
I went to my whiteboard.
At first he felt like I was insulting his intelligence by trying to draw and write what I hadn’t been able to speak.
I said, no, I didn’t intend to insult his intelligence. I wanted, rather, to try a different route because I could tell that he was not hearing what I was trying to say.
He stopped the conversation with this: “What you did there – you didn’t blame me for not understanding! I really appreciate that.”
We learned that together.