Have you ever tried proving a point?
Your point. Your own “take on the matter.”
You argue, raise your voice, and employ every tool in your persuasive communication box to drive your notion into everyone’s head.
It’s either you accept what I say, or “to your tents O Israel!”
Like Dale Carnegie wrote, “The world is full of people who are grabbing and self-seeking. So the rare individual who unselfishly tries to serve others has an enormous advantage.”
These “rare individuals” are wise people. People who seek to influence others. And they understand the role of diplomacy (skill in dealing with others without causing bad feelings) in influence.
One Biblical wise-hearted professional worth learning from is Paul. Paul is often considered to be the most important person after Jesus in the history of Christianity. Learned. Influential.
From his teachings and life, we can pinpoint 3 questions he likely asks himself when he interacts with others:
Is this expedient?
People often say “I have the right to do and say anything.” Without minding how it affects the other person or party.
The Corinthian church bragged about such liberty to do or say whatever they feel like… So Paul needed to speak some sense to them about such an idea.
In his letter to them, he wrote, “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” (1 Corinthians 6: 12)
Many times, people spend time and energy arguing and fighting over things that are not expedient – things that do not bring solutions to a problem or provide an easy and quick way of doing something.
In the Christian assembly, at work, in the home… Are all those endless friction-bringing matters expedient? Are they the weightier matters?
Does it contribute to our goal?
Paul said, it might be lawful (a nice-to-have), but if it’s not expedient (a must-have), it will not master me.
We will live better and brighter lives if we hold on to inconsequential things with loose hands.
2. Am I all things to all men?
And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;
To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.
To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you. (1 Corinthians 9: 20-23)
Paul knew how to relate with everyone at every level.
He never allowed his position, knowledge or background to stand between him and those he ought to touch with the gospel.
His passion for the gospel drove him to be all things to all men. You are Peter the apostle; we are one. Timothy the youth; you are my own son. Onesimus, the former runaway worthless slave; you are my son.
His ability to reason with the learned Pharisees and discuss with the unlearned helped him relate with and influence different classes of people.
In your dealings with people, are you all things to all men? Reaching everyone at their level and finding a common ground that helps you connect with, and win them over.
3. Are my words seasoned with salt?
Paul gave the Colossians an admonition that we all need to always remember: Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. (Colossians 4: 6)
When your speech contains grace and salt, it won’t be derogatory, insulting, “me-me-me”, resentful, insensitive, rude, filthy… It will soothe the ears and heart. Even if you disagree with the other party, it doesn’t have to lash and crush.
So, the next time you feel that pressure to prove your point at all costs, pause. Act like a wise-hearted professional:
Is this expedient?
Am I all things to all men?
Are my words seasoned with salt?
But you know, the carnal man can’t simply act like this. The flesh doesn’t enjoy staying under. It will scream and scream till it has its way.
That’s why we all need the first and second work of grace: Salvation and Sanctification.
An experience in which God forgives and cleanses you from sin… and then circumcises your heart so that the Adamic nature – self – is dealt with.
You need this experience if you don’t have it. And it can be all yours if you pray – asking God to save and sanctify you.
Then, you’ll receive the Divine Grace to be a wise-hearted professional.
Oh, the countless lives you will influence – just like Paul did.