When I know that I am right and I want the other person to see the truth, I need to talk in such a way that I maximize the chance of their listening.
In Daniel 1, he was asked to eat meat dedicated to idols. He purposed in his heart that he would not comply. However, if he had said, “Do your worst I will not comply!” His boss would have felt obliged to chop off his head, thus depriving us of the book of Daniel. Not to mention depriving Daniel of his head.
Instead he appealed. Boss, I know that your own life is on the line and you are charged with keeping all the students happy. You have cornered the market on the best meat in town and believe that eating it will give us shiny happy faces. You know that I have worked hard to make you look good and I want you to be safe and all the students happy. However, if the Jewish boys eat this meat they will feel guilty and not have very happy-shiny faces. I suggest you let us eat split pea soup for a couple weeks and the other students eat rich meat and wine. Then compare which group has happier shiner faces.
The boss listened to him, Daniel kept his head and all the students wound up eating split pea soup.
STEPS OF AN APPEAL
- I appreciate your good goal of ——————–
- You have worked hard towards this goal
- This goal is important to you because———————-
- I have the same good goal
- I have worked hard towards our good goal.
- I am just concerned that our current approach might not accomplish the good goal because—————
- I would like to suggest———————instead
- I would be willing to work to implement this good goal by——————-
- What do you think about my concerns and idea?
Now I must remember that God’s ways are not my ways and often seem unreasonable or unworkable or unfair. BUT THEY WORK AND MY WAYS DON’T
I would rather start with ” You just want to have your own way!” or ascribe some other bad goal to the listener. However if I let them “save face” they are far more likely to listen. I must remember that winning or looking superior is NOT the goal but helping them to consider God’s ways is. Likewise, each step goes against my grain. I don’t want to give them credit for what they have done, or put myself into their shoes to see why this is so important to them, or see myself as being on a team working together, or do the work to figure out WHY the current approach won’t work, or pour myself into trying to make their ideas work before I voice concern, or do all that I can without doing the wrong. I might just want to criticize but then ask a overworked person to do even more without any extra help from me. I certainly don’t want to hear any balancing concerns from them about my ideas. BUT, if I do it God’s way it works.