Taking a break from the lovey dovey stuff to blog about something that’s been brewing in my mind for weeks (probably years).
We all have questions and we all encounter people with questions.
As a learner and follower, I’m grateful for when those wiser than me have taken time to listen to me and respond to my questions.
As a leader and teacher, I’m grateful for when my students ask questions because it shows they are interested and engaged with the discussion.
But some people say they’re asking questions, but they only want to be argumentative or to get their point across. Real dialogue isn’t possible because they’re only interested in telling not listening.
I had a guy I didn’t know come up to me recently after a talk I gave:
Him: You did a great job. But you had one mistake. Me: Oh, thanks for pointing that out. Which one was it? Him: You said HELPFUL, PRACTICAL TEACHING but I disagree because CLEARLY HERETICAL THEOLOGY. What do you think?
Me: I think that point is never established in Scripture. Where do you see it? Him: It’s there. I don’t know where. It’s there though. You just failed to say it. Me: (smiling) Great catching up with you, man.
It wasn’t worth the time getting into a discussion with him about it because he clearly wasn’t open to being corrected about it. I didn’t want to waste his time or mine.
As I thought about this encounter and several others, I came up with this table to help differentiate between people who are asking legitimate questions to learn and advance the conversation and those who are asking questions for attention, notoriety, or to just be critical.
Don’t waste your time on Charlatans. And don’t waste their time too since they probably fancy themselves on a mission to enlighten the ignorant masses around them. But if you’re a leader just direct them away from the people you lead since you also have a responsibility over those who follow you.
Definitely listen to the Learners. Hear their concerns and address them, then watch their joy and productivity soar.
And always appreciate the silent, unsung heroes. The ones who do most of the work, carry most of the weight, reach most of the people without much complaints, comments, or criticisms. Investing with them is never a waste of time.
Proverbs 26:12 (NIV)
Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.