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When Asking Beats Telling – Dental “Dialogue”

Everyday EvangelismKey Bible Verse: He who answers before listening—that is his folly and his shame.  – Proverbs 18:13

Bonus Reading: Isaiah 1:18-20

The waiting-room sign warns, “Blessed are those who engage in lively conversation with the helplessly mute, for they shall be called dentists.”

My dentist drives me crazy! He asks really thought-provoking questions right as he puts sharp, pointed objects into my mouth. “So, what’s the real solution for the Palestinian problem?” Or, “Aren’t all religions basically the same?” I want to respond, but my attempts are muffled by his hands in my mouth and that noisy suction thing.

I wonder if some of our evangelistic conversations sound like interactions between my dentist and me. One side posits a question, not really expecting an answer or listening for a response. The other side sits frustrated, not really getting to answer or expecting to be heard.

Scripture admonishes us to always be ready to explain our Christian hope (1 Peter 3:15). But doing so requires listening in order to know when and what we’re being asked. Listening primes the pump, opening hearts to accept conviction of sin, establishing common ground for further dialogue, or giving insight to felt needs.

—Randy Newman in Questioning Evangelism

My Response: I’ll listen-out a friend, connecting and clarifying without interjecting my own thoughts, so he’ll know I’m hearing him accurately.

Thought to Apply: If you want to gather honey, don’t kick over the beehive.—Dale Carnegie (writer & speaker)

Adapted from Questioning Evangelism (Kregel, 2004)

Prayer for the Week: Lord, help me share the Good News in a less cut-and-dried manner, softening hearts through relational give-and-take.

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