Controversial issues are all around us and conversations around sensitive topics come up all the time. Proverbs 15:1 tells us that “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” How can you engage in these challenging conversations with the light of the Gospel to bring peace and not more discord?
1. Seek to understand, not win a debate.
People want to know that you care before they care what you know. Your goal should be to successfully understand and explain the other person’s position to their satisfaction before offering your own perspective on the issue. Try to state their case even more clearly than they did. It will show you cared enough to listen well.
2. Ask good questions!
It shows humility when you acknowledge you don’t know everything.
It honors the other person because you’re really saying, “I value your perspective.”
It clarifies what the other person is saying so that you know what they really mean.
It takes you off the defensive because instead of being an “expert,” you’re simply a student learning.
3. Acknowledge what you don’t know.
There’s a handy three word sentence for that. Ready for it? … “I don’t know”. Say things like, “That’s a really good question. I need to think about it. Can I get back to you?” And then do your research and get back to them.
Encourage the person to visit EveryStudent.com. It’s our website written directly to nonbelievers that not only takes on hard questions, but in a respectful, persuasive way, gives reasons to begin a relationship with God. When you're in a conversation, encourage the person asking the question to visit the website. It's for them. And when they're alone, their defenses can come down and they can really pursue the questions most on their mind and heart. God speaks to many people through it. And you can ask them about it later. Take a look at it: www.EveryStudent.com.
4. Recognize the power and importance of worldviews.
A worldview is a way of looking at the world. It’s the story we tell ourselves that informs the way we interpret the facts we see.
A great app called “Perspectives” provides a unique way to talk with your friends about their worldview and even better understand your own. Watch the short training video here, then download the app, and start exploring!
5. Understand the power of a Christian worldview to give us insight to every issue in life.
God has something to say about everything: justice, poverty, suffering, eternity, and more. As we understand tough issues through our faith, we’re better able to communicate with others.
We all need the support and encouragement found in community in order to thrive. Cru is a caring Christian community that is here for you as you navigate college.