Give Grace A Chance

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After reading my title, I have that song stuck in my head now, don’t you?  “Just Give Grace a Chance…”  Continuing Grace Month with excerpts  from my article, “10 Quick Ways to Disagree in Grace” we come to numbers five and six.  I pray these tips have been a blessing to you and I would ask that you please pass along the link to my blog posts as there are so many Christians struggling to find comfortable or more effective ways in which to disagree.
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Sometimes Christians find that they may disagree with other Christians over doctrine or how they interpret scripture.  I have seen Christians lash out at a sister or brother in Christ and I have seen others stand idly by in fear of what their response would bring.  This is a HUGE topic that I actually address in several of my communication studies, but I want to address a portion of this here today: new Christians.
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5. Give new Christians a Chance
Before I ever came to accept Jesus, I didn’t know His Word.  I cannot accept what I do not know.  I had to spend time reading the Bible before I could grow in my faith.  The closer I grew to the Lord, the more I wanted to live my life for Him.  I didn’t start off witnessing. It wasn’t until later that I decided not to participate in things like Santa and the Easter Bunny.  Be sure not to stumble a fairly new Christian because he is not yet ready or willing to make a change.”
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We don’t want to stumble a new believer before he has an opportunity to walk with the Lord.  It’s so important that we discuss things and not argue the point.  Most new believers will need time to sit with an idea before they can really understand it.  Most people have the same issue with almost any new idea.  Nobody wants to be told they are doing things wrong, but often we do need to hear it.  It’s so much easier to share what we believe than to accuse or badger.  This allows us the freedom to speak.  It’s also much easier for the recipient to hear us discuss our different belief.  This allows the other person the freedom to listen and understand.
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Another issue we face with gracious disagreement, is when we notice the other party isn’t “buying it.”  LOL  As we attempt to discuss issues, we may notice that the other person isn’t accepting our facts.
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6. Address their Concerns
If they ask you a question, by all means answer!  Sometimes people may not come out and ask, but you can tell they have a concern by their body language or their facial expression.  If they object, by all means address it.  Calmly share what you know about their concerns.”
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Some will come out and ask you how you know X to be true.  Others will squinch up their faces or shake their heads from side to side.  This is a red flag clue that something needs to be addressed.  Do so.  Remember, that addressing their concerns doesn’t mean telling them the are WRONG or getting them to agree you are RIGHT.  It simply means that we should graciously attempt to clarify why they are having trouble with our idea and see if we can discuss it further.  Along the way, the other party might learn you are right or YOU might learn something about the other person that will allow you to explain your position more effectively.
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I’ll be back on Wednesday with some more tips on disagreeing in grace.  Check out our newsletter subscription below.  We will have a free gift coming out tomorrow for all subscribers.  It’s an activity book that helps parents and kids discuss what Jesus did for us.

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Disagreeing in Grace 3&4

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On Monday we discussed the first two rules of disagreeing in grace.  Rules three and four involve being calm and concentrating on the issues rather than the person’s character.

3. Be Calm
The best way to share your views with anyone is in a calm and rational manner.  The more passionate you are about a topic, the harder that will be.  When you give a speech, being passionate about it is beneficial, but when you are trying to change someone’s mind or heart, it is a deterrent.  Nobody wants to be forced into accepting something.  They want to come to their own conclusions after hearing all the facts.

Ignatz is trying to get Igor into a business deal and he’s not going to take no for an answer.  So he raises his voice, digs in and badgers poor Igor for what seems an interminable length of time.  Even though the idea seems to have merit, Igor is suspicious because Ignatz is so insistent.  He feels as though there must be an ulterior motive or a hidden disadvantage if Ignatz is pushing so hard.

If Ignatz had just come to him and calmly stated the value and benefits of the deal, he would have been inclined to agree right away.  As it happened, he was so suspicious that he waited too long and the deal was no longer an option.

4. Don’t Condemn the Person; Question the Issues
Remember always that the Lord loves His children. It’s the sin He hates.  Keep in mind that people are not machines.  We don’t switch our sin on and off.  Ask questions.  Share.  Condemn the action if you must, but never condemn the person that Jesus loves!

Ivan and Mabel were discussing politics when Ivan was so disgusted with her inability to prove her point that he called her an ignorant fool and proceeded to question everything from her honesty to her sanity.  It wasn’t long before Mabel was no longer listening, dug in her heels and declared her allegiance to the other viewpoint even though she secretly began to feel he had made a few good points.

If Ivan had only stuck to the issues instead of attacking her personally, they may have been able to have a civil discussion.

Remaining calm and sticking to the issues in question will help you appear to be fair minded and intelligent while allowing the other person to thoughtfully consider your position, even if they don’t adopt it.

This YouTube video is of Tim Keller talking about how society now discusses faith. It illustrates what I’ve shared for years about communication and sharing our faith: it takes grace and respect.

 

Come back next week when I’ll share more from “10 Quick Rules for Disagreeing in Grace!”

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April is Grace Month

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All this month I’ll be talking about the role of grace and godly communication in our daily lives from our marriages, kids, neighbors, family, friends and co-workers to how we handle the phone and social media.  I’ll be sharing tips from my article, “Ten Quick Rules for Disagreeing in Grace” and expanding on it to include more insights.  I’ll even share some from my upcoming new study, Say What You Mean: Avoiding, Reducing and Resolving Conflicts.

After checking out my article, for a little fun you can visit FIMM (Foot in Mouth Man) for some of his misadventures in miscommunication.  There will be a new episode this coming Wednesday so stay tuned.

Later this month, I’m going to host a free seminar on godly communication so save up your questions!  At the end of the show, I’ll be taking your questions which you can either call in to the show or post in the chatroom to share.  Here are the details on the seminar.  Mark your calendar so you don’t miss the live show. I always have something special planned for my live listeners!

Title: Godly Communication
Time: 04/28/2011 11:00 AM EDT
Episode Notes: It takes 21 days to make a habit; why not make one for God? I challenge you: Make a habit to speak in a more godly way and see what you reap and what you sow. I’ll show you how.

How to Join the Show: Join us via your computer by clicking this link, or call us during the show at (724) 444-7444 Call ID: 19736.

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Nostalgia Week: Ten Quick Rules for Disagreeing in Grace

It’s Nostalgia Week here on Communication FUNdamentals.   Art of Eloquence will be eight years old in just a few days.  Looking back at how I started out, I began reminiscing about the “Good Old Days.”

Remember when manners were in style?  When parents taught us that if we didn’t have anything nice to say, we shouldn’t say anything at all?  Remember when saying “please” and “thank you” was not just nice, but customary?  Remember when strangers were kind and we could…disagree in grace?

10 Quick Rules for Disagreeing in Grace
By JoJo Tabares

So how should we object?  What’s the best way to disagree?  How can we voice our opposition when someone presents us with something that goes against what we believe?  How can we discuss and share instead of antagonize and frustrate?  How?  Just the way you would wish someone else would disagree with YOU!

Here are 10 quick rules for disagreeing so that it will open a door to discussion instead of slamming it shut on your relationship:

1. Don’t Accuse
Instead of coming out and saying someone is wrong, just share what you know.  Nobody wants to hear they are wrong and if they hear it, they are likely not listening to anything else you say.  They may indeed be wrong, but you need to ask yourself if you want to be right or if you want to be heard!

2. Listening Without Interrupting
It doesn’t look like you are anxious to share your views if you interrupt.  To them, it feels like you aren’t giving due attention to their arguments.  If you are not willing to listen to others, they will not be willing to listen to you!

3. Be Calm
The best way to share your views with anyone is in a calm and rational manner.  The more passionate you are about a topic, the harder that will be.  When you give a speech, being passionate about it is beneficial, but when you are trying to change someone’s mind or heart, it is a deterrent.  Nobody wants to be forced into accepting something.  They want to come to their own conclusions after hearing all the facts.

4. Don’t Condemn the Person; Question the Issues
Remember always that the Lord loves His children. It’s the sin He hates.  Keep in mind that people are not machines.  We don’t switch our sin on and off.  Ask questions.  Share.  Condemn the action if you must, but never condemn the person that Jesus loves!

5. Give new Christians a Chance
Before I ever came to accept Jesus, I didn’t know His Word.  I cannot accept what I do not know.  I had to spend time reading the Bible before I could grow in my faith.  As I grew closer to the Lord, the more I wanted to live my life for Him.  I didn’t start off witnessing. It wasn’t until later that I decided not to participate in things like Santa and the Easter Bunny.  Be sure not to stumble a fairly new Christian because he is not yet ready or willing to make a change.

6. Address their Concerns
If they ask you a question, by all means answer!  Sometimes people may not come out and ask but you can tell they have a concern by their body language or their facial expression.  If they object, by all means address it.  Calmly share what you know about their concerns.

7. Say “I Dunno”
When you don’t know the answer someone needs, the most intelligent thing to say is “I dunno.”  The quickest way to lose credibility with someone is to speak too quickly.  If someone asks you something about the Bible and you can’t remember where the scripture is, tell them you will find it for them.  You don’t need to have all of the Bible memorized and categorized in your head to share the Gospel.  People appreciate honesty!

8. Let it Go
In order to avoid an argument, when they are no longer listening, stop talking!  As soon as someone is giving off signals that they are not accepting your views, it’s usually best not to press the issue and begin an argument.  Remember that the Lord may use you simply to plant a seed.  Someone else may be sent to water it.  Only God can change a heart and you may have already done your part.  Don’t mess up God’s work!  ROFL

9. Don’t Argue
Art of Eloquence offers a Tshirt Transfer and Puzzle Download with a very powerful saying on it.  “Don’t argue with a fool.  Someone watching might not be able to tell the difference” -Author Unknown  Arguing only inflames the other party and renders them incapable of really listening to what you have to say.  Arguing never persuades anyone and if it does, they certainly would never admit it!

10. Agree to Disagree
Tis better to agree to disagree and live to discuss another day than to fight for your right to be a pest!  Sometimes people are not ready to hear or accept what you have to say.  Sometimes you are only one in a long line of people the Lord will use to share Jesus with this person.  Share and discuss in love and grace and then let it go.  God is in control.  Let Him work.

We have not been commanded to make Christians.  We have merely been called to share God’s love and grace and mercies with those who would listen and pray for those who don’t.

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JoJo Tabares holds a degree in Speech Communication, but it is her humorous approach to communication skills which has made her a highly sought-after Christian speaker and writer.  Her articles appear in homeschool publications, such as Homeschool Enrichment Magazine and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, which also endorses her Say What You Mean curricula.  You can also find JoJo on web sites such as Crosswalk.com and Dr.Laura.com.  For more information on communication FUNdamentals and Christian-based communication skills for the whole family, please visit http://www.ArtofEloquence.com

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