Tuesday, 24 February 2015

The Art of Convincing: Getting People to THINK

This reading is based on Acts 26 that is read in accordance with the Revived by His Word initiative of the General Conference of SDAs

“I consider myself fortunate that it is before you, King Agrippa, I am going to make my defence today against all the accusations of the Jews." Acts 26: 2

In this story there are at least two ways that we can get people to give sincere consideration to what we have to say: 1. Give affirmation; further empower them by seeking their help. Even if this is done with insincerity many persons have successfully used this method of getting people on their side and eventually get what they desire.

While I am certain Paul was not insincere and patronizing in expressing pleasure with the fact that King Agrippa was the one before whom his matter was to be tried, his was a time-proven method of breaking down defences and reaching the inner chambers of ones most earnest attention and consideration. Paul's sincere affirmation of King Agrippa's knowledge and understanding of Jewish customs made it virtually impossible for him not to seek to confirm Paul's words - but more than that - conviction was actually brought to his soul. For this king, Paul's work was done; his blood was on his own shoulders, not Paul's.  Satan manipulated and used this principle insincerely with Eve as he deviously implied that she would become like God - a place worthy of affirmation.

Also, we would learn well not to be dogmatic when presenting the gospel to a non-believer (and even a believer as well). Pull the persons being reached out to into the centre of the story; have their attention, then present Jesus to them. Paul's preamble in essence asked Agrippa for help and actually 'forced' him to think about the matter.

Telling people, "I need your help," is a powerful way of getting them on your side. Once you get them on your side, they then are more disposed to listen to your story in order to help you. It is then that conviction can occur - depending on how credible your story is. Jesus used this method with the woman at the well. He started out asking her for water to drink (He 'needed' her help) and - you know the rest of the story.

Let us in our interactions avoid that condescending manner, which will in effect say, "You poor ignorant one, here, let me help you." Let us instead start at each one's point of strength, then connect to Jesus.

To read and/or listen to Acts 26, and to read other related blogs, please click here.

Photo Credit: click here.