Journey Leading – Part 3
Continuing sharing some of the things we are intentional about in our weekend gatherings knowing that everybody is at a different place in their spiritual journey…
Avoiding extreme categorizations.
This is huge, because as communicators, it can be easy to make assumptive or black and white statements about where people are at in their journey.
For example, let’s say I’m teaching on the subject of generosity… And in building tension with where people are at, I might decide to talk about how the opposite of generosity might be “greed.”
I could approach it making this type of statement:
“As much as we know that generosity is a great way to live, the truth is……all of us find ourselves being greedy in our lives, don’t we?”
Ok, well that’s an ugly statement. Even if it’s true! But it’s one that will more than likely raise defenses quickly – which then cuts a lot of people off from hearing what you have to say next.
So what if instead of making such a black and white statement, we tried saying something more like this:
“Let’s say that on one end of the spectrum we have “extreme generosity” and on the other end we have what’s called “extreme greed.” Well chances are, there are probably very few of us here that would categorize ourselves as being ‘extremely greedy.’ But yet, on the other hand, I wonder how many of us could actually say that we are way over here on THIS end of the spectrum (extreme generosity)?
Or let’s say you were to look at the last year or two of your life…. What DIRECTION have you been headed on this spectrum? Has your life been pulled the direction of extreme generosity? Or…..has it been headed the opposite direction?”
This type of approach allows people the opportunity to get honest and identify FOR THEMSELVES where they’re at in their journey. Chances are, most people would not categorize themselves as either extremely generous or extremely greedy – most would probably find themselves somewhere more in the middle. So to block people into one of the two categories does nothing but cause unnecessary defenses to rise and people to disconnect before they even hear what the solution is!
(On a side note – it’s one thing for the scriptures to offend someone… There’s not much we can do about that. But it’s completely different for me – as the communicator – to offend in a way that shuts down half my audience.)
The point in a talk like this would be to help people learn how to live in such a way that they are constantly moving in the direction TOWARDS extreme generosity. No one gets there overnight. And for most people, imagining themselves going from where they’re currently at to the far other end of the spectrum overnight is overwhelming and unrealistic.
I’m aiming for ONE MORE STEP forward. That’s it. And I’m trusting that because God is already at work in their lives, that His Spirit will continue working in them and will get them where He wants them to be.