038. Relationships: How Can I Persuade Others To Change?

27 Apr, 2012

There’s one thing we need to remember about ourselves – not everyone agrees with us.  Especially if you’re me when trying to convince my family that Spam, rice and ketchup is a perfectly good meal.

But whenever we try to convince anyone to change their mind on anything, we feel like our one conversation is somehow going to magically change the other person’s mind… Don’t complain about school because God is using that to grow you into your vocational callings later in life. You shouldn’t smoke because you’ll get cancer. Don’t wear that outfit – it looks like Elton John threw up on a cow.

Persuasion is not that easy. Why?

1.  Because people are they way they are for a reason. These reasons that have built up over the course of their lives.  You’re not going to change them in one conversation.

2.  We’re stupid too. What makes us the treasure chest of all truth – that they’ll magically change because of something we’ve said?  Ever notice that the people that know us most are often the people who dismiss our view the most?  Just look at teenagers with their parents.

So what do we do?

We have to come up with a different approach than pounding them over the head with one conversation.  The first two things I wrote about before (love and wisdom, Devo #37).  But there’s a couple more things to understand.

1. Think long term (Hearts and Spiritual Maturity). You will not change anyone’s heart and/or spiritual maturity in one conversation. Hearts and spiritual maturity are like massive ships that take forever to change directions. You have to do a little at a time. Getting a kid or your spouse to turn complaining into thankfulness about school or work won’t happen for years. 

It’s tied into their spiritual maturity. It’s not only going to take years of conversations when appropriate situations come up to talk about, but years of you setting a good example of thankfulness – and it will take their own hearts to grow it its love for God.

2. Follow Christ’s example.  We sin everyday against God, but He is very patient with us over the years and decades of our lives. So as you try to persuade others out of love, and with wisdom, just remember that you’re trying to encourage life long changes, spiritual changes, and it will take a long time.  So be patient and follow God’s example with how He deals with us.

Like I don’t expect my family to appreciate spam and rice today.  But I’ll work on it. A little at a time.  With divine patience.

Psalm 86:15 But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. 1 Corinthians 13:4–8a Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

Take Time to Pray: Ask God for love, wisdom and patience so you can minister and draw others closer to God. For help with the patience part of things see: http://decapolis.com/devos/375

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