Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Apologize Quickly

It's inevitable that when we are in a conversation we are going to say something that is wrong. It can be a misspeak, a missed truth, a missed fact, a misunderstanding. We could simply just be wrong. So, then what's next?

As Christians, we are not responsible for knowing everything. We are responsible to continue to learn about our Lord and to be curious about God and His ways. So, there's no reason to be embarrassed. Just apologize quickly and move on!

Confess your sins to each other... - James 5:16 NLT

That's it! When you or someone you're engaged with in conversation points out something wrong, and it's clear that it's wrong, apologize and move on to the truth.

Wasting time waiting to see if what you said will eventually "work itself out" can cause you to drift away from the truth. It will certainly get you off topic and can render you ineffective in the conversation.

There a good reasons for apologizing quickly and moving on:

  • You don't get stuck arguing a false premise.
  • It keeps the conversation open and moving forward.
  • It keeps your focus on the truth.
  • It keeps your focus on winning souls.

Jesus said to the people who believed in him, "You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." - John 8:31-32 NLT

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Summarize for Clarity

Ok, you find yourself in another philosophical discussion with someone and you are sharing details of your belief system and they are sharing about theirs. It can quickly become difficult to track on all the rabbit trails that can occur as well as the vocabulary challenges.

Test everything that is said, hold on to what is good.

Sometimes we are using common words that mean something different to others. An expert communicator is acutely aware that this happens in nearly every philosophical discussion. The idea is to minimize misunderstandings and clarify thoughts.

It works both ways, too. Have you ever been in an argument with someone and realized that you were actually making the same case? It's funny but things like that can be preempted by summarizing as you go. 

Test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. - 1 Thessalonians 5:21 NLT

Summarizing has its greatest effect when you start early in the conversation. We don't want to assume what someone means when engaged in a thoughtful conversation. The details are important. The vocabulary is important. Summarizing facilitates the success of the conversation.


Recapitulate is a fantastic word that captures the idea of this skill. It means, to restate the main points of (an argument, speech, etc); summarize. Thank you, www.dictionary.com!

Summarizing early and often in conversation:

  • Slows the conversation down for better thinking.
  • Helps to keep everyone on topic.
  • Infuses peace, affirming the other person is being heard.
  • Leads to follow up questions.
  • Clarifies where the conversation lands.
  • Builds relationships.

All of this has the effect of clarifying ideas, overcoming vocabulary barriers, infusing peace into the conversation and probably the most important of all, keeping the conversation on topic.

And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul's message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. - Acts 17:11 NLT

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Say What Needs To Be Said

Many times when we are having a difficult discussion with someone we are being sensitive to not only what to say, but what not to say. We get the feeling that if we "bottom line it" or say something that is generally against common assumptions, we're going to exacerbate an already uncomfortable interaction.

Speak the truth in love.

It could be something politically incorrect or it may go against a misunderstanding in science or challenge a preconceived idea. It could be about a bad behavior or maybe the boss making a bad decision that hurts you or someone else. We've all had these uncomfortable conversations where we need to speak up and say something that may anger someone.

We want to be respectful and think about how we will deal with the situation. We want to follow the scriptures that tell us to be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove but this may mean something else, as well. We may find that the best way to address the subject is to simply say the things that need to be said.

Again, this can be difficult when there is the potential to create friction in the conversation. It's especially difficult if there are anticipated repercussions. Will I be fired? Will I lose a friend or family member? Will it cost me something that I really don't want to lose?

Count the Cost

There is a process of preparing ourselves for these kind of interactions. The world is a dangerous place and watching even a short segment of todays news will quickly inform us that Christian ideas are hated and aggressively confronted. As Americans, the real life of a Christian is just now beginning to be realized.

Therefore, we must begin preparing ourselves for the tough conversations and become an expert communicator. The first step is to count the cost of our words. We need to take our communication of the Gospel and speaking the truth very seriously.

This is why In The Cool Zone exists... to build fortitude in believers of Christ. We are not ready for the the things that are coming but we can be. We need to be!

"But don't begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? - Luke 14:28 NLT