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September 9, 2020 2:00 am
Pastor Scott Sauls, author of the book, "A Gentle Answer," joins Dave and Ann Wilson to discuss the power of gentle answers in a culture of outrage. Gentle answers communicate, "You matter, your opinion matters." People don't get scolded into agreement, Sauls says. No one ever says "Thank you for lecturing and shaming me." Yes, confront sin with truth, but take the log out of your own eye first, as Jesus commanded.
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If you found there are certain conversations among family members, or outside of your family certain conversations that just are cut off limits these days. Scott Salz has some counsel for all of us. If you're in a run-of-the-mill conversation about something that's important to you is important somebody else. So let's just pick a hypothetical subject in September 2020 politics red state blue state and you know you it's getting heated is what Jesus says deal with the log in your own eye first so that you are now qualified to deal with the spec somebody else inside. This is family life to our hosts are Damon and Wilson and Bob Lapine to find us online.
The family life to a.com.
In the midst of this cancel culture where we feel like were dancing on egg shells important to try to say anything to anybody. Scott Salz says the Bible has a lot to say to us about what healthy communication should look like.
Stay with us and welcome to family life to think joining us, but sit there thinking if you asked me what kind of answers would you like to be known for timed I'm just meditating on this if people were saying when I think of Bible pain. He's a guy who always gives blank answers. I would think right be the thing I want right answer why why is and you yeah I want your kids snarky would be to put up with herds of snarky answer because I've been known to do that. It probably go a while before you get to the biblical response there in the Bible commands particular kinds of answer. Hey, you know that since you brought it up and asked my wife your spouse knows you better anybody Honeywell what can answers I give thoughtful, thoughtful because you don't love conflict and sell before you'll engage in anything, I think you're pretty wise and thinking about it first. That's good to say that nothing is good about her safety. Does a conflict the fiery virtue or its family book so I would write something we all need a book and we've got a friend is written.
One. Scott Salz was joining us again on family life. They welcome back. Thanks. Rather, that this is always fun to have Scott joining us got the pastor from Nashville, Tennessee.
He is an author well-known speaker and somebody that I know I can count on to give thoughtful, measured, and usually gentle answers in the midst of what can be difficult times.
I mean we we have been living through some difficult times, and these are not times when gentle answers are instinctive before us.
That's not the first place we go visit that's correct some of called the current culture culture of outrage, new phrases, new terminology like cancel culture have hit the scene and yeah it's it's an us against them climate everywhere you go.
Just pick your subjects are some subjects that are more amplified than others currently run election season, to which has people's nerves amplified as well.
So the amplification of those nerves happen in families among extended families when you're having Thanksgiving dinner with uncle Ralph and he starts talking about what he saw on TV or when your kids come home from college or with their kids and you say you think what there are a lot of differences across generational lines. I think in my lifetime. Probably younger generations in older generations are on different pages more than ever in my lifetime that I can remember on certain issues which on the one hand is problematic because of all the fighting and bickering. But on the other hand, I think it's a great opportunity because the best way to learn is to be in community or in family with people who see things differently than you do. And the reason why is the best way to learn is that neither it gives us an opportunity to change our minds if we happen to be wrong and have blind spots or gives us an opportunity to refine the right things that we hold to believe by virtue of having them tested states.
The best way to learn if your humble and teachable correct, if not humble and teachable that all it is is just an explosion going off inside a relationship. Yeah either explosion or withdrawal, both of which are heartbreaking inside you come up with a gentle answer mail of the subtitle our secret weapon in an age of us against them and so we've Artie talked about. There's an us against them. Especially we Scott you guys. I like to read your blog because what Bob said it is gentle on its firm.
That's why read like I know I'm getting in a measured response. I mean there's another firm is there and there's even an angst but is not angry so it when I read your title gentle answer. I thought that to find you.
In my opinion about where they come from well thanks Dave quantified wife and daughters that I think of it as a right gentle answer turns away wrath. That's Proverbs 15 one of the books title is based on the proper it's not original didn't come out of my brain.
Combination of of an awareness of that verse in a grief over how much bickering there is right now it really is interesting if if your argument officially Bob mentioned in her home with her family with it. We in your neighborhood think that if one of us is escalating and the other escalates obviously to go there but if one escalates in the other de-escalate steel answer. It's really hard to keep escalate. You can be certain that I can anything well because you are escalating when somebody else is trying to calm everything down.
I think it's important that we talk about de-escalating conversations to that doesn't mean becoming a doormat possess really unhealthy is called codependency is called dysfunction. If truth is at stake if two people in a family or any other kind of relationship are at odds. The healthy goal will be. Hey, let's get to the truth together and when we realize it might be like two pieces of sandpaper rubbing together in the heat sky go up and working feel the friction. But when you rub two pieces sandpaper together long enough, both of you become smoother and smooth out and it's really so much more data about how than it is about anything else. How do we have those discussions were supposed to disagree because were all flawed and were we all blind spots. We all have those sins in our lives we are all contributors to the problem. Whatever the problem is in some way shape or form. And so will benefit from the friction and so really what's important is a climate that allows for friction.
A climate where friction doesn't introduce the threat of rejection or the threat of bullying or one person shutting another person down because there is a more powerful person. Now I know that you know the versa. Gentle answer when you respond gently.
I'm sure that this invites a response when you don't push his people have shared this when we speak American versus one day I was pulling out of my subdivision. It was early morning bunch of cars and come down the street I could get out so you get frustrated I can get out and get out and so there's this tiny little gap I can do. If I pull out. But as I pulled out. I realize I really did got a guy off who is coming pretty fast and I thought so you know you did you look in the mirror and see how you can respond he is. I rate he's on my bumper I can hearing, but he's yelling hand gestures.
The whole thing. Anyway, long story short, I end up were in one lane, but it is a light comes up about 2 miles later. There's two lanes and hopefully done Colby Simon course he does. I'm in the left lane and he's right over there and I can hear him both our window, his or her up minor up and so I just I didn't want look, I'm just like I so I finally said okay and will look so slowly. I just look over and he is window down now yell and hunted down here and he's like, and so I did as I never I just turned 11 and I just put my hand up to go hey my bad. Sorry just now that I mean can you hear me I just say sorry on their forget this at least a problem for me. See just happened and that verse hit me when I gentle answer turns RFI me. I never see them that quickly change my thought well I respond gently.
It totally changed me not know. We also know that always happen like that, but it was a picture of God's truth is truth guy immediately his whole demeanor changed because somebody responded gently, so apply that to a family or even online when we do that is that what happens why I think that episode you just described illustrates a reality about the human heart. If somebody cuts us off. You know whether it's in traffic. Cut off and in our conversation. If you feel like you've been disrespected by somebody you're thinking. They just care about themselves and what you did Dave. In that situation, as he was assaulting you for only caring about yourself which he paid for, at least in his mind and then you said I'm sorry it seems like maybe his perspective immediately shifted to your caring about me right now you see me as a human being. I matter to you. You're not just here to win them to get ahead knowing that that traffic incident can be a metaphor that implies family life as well.
Where one parent communicates in the kid gets it that I care about you.
Your opinion matters that your feelings matter and my authority matters as well. But if all I'm doing is asserting my authority, and in such a way that doesn't communicate you matter your opinion matters your feelings matter you win a money what people don't get scolded into being persuaded people get loved and cared for in the being persuaded I can say something that's true and irrefutable. But if I say it in a scolding way, it's probably not can be well received by most people. I can say a false thing in a really gentle way and it'll Ruth be received by a lot of people right and so so there's a lot at stake here, not just in our messaging, but in the way that we deliver in the Bible talks of speaking the truth in love yet put the two together know Peter talks about giving a defense for your faith right apologetics right, he says, be sure that that whenever you give a defense for your faith. You do it with gentleness and respect. In other words, honor people who disagree with you honor people who are on a different page than you are. And that applies at home that applies out in the world applies online and is just more persuasive evangelism. Think about it that way, your pastor, Sue Fleming. So many people you can be a long line thanking you guys for introducing Jesus in glory. I bet you're not one of them would say. And I swear thank you, only think your church for lecturing and scolding and shaming me into the kingdom. I don't know how I'll ever be able to thank you for that and I've been a pastor for 30 years of never met somebody with that story. Not once.
I'm sure there's somebody out there that exists with that story. Love never met 1000 who have the story so my love me in spite of myself evening your bookie talk about how Jesus befriends the sinner enough when he mean by that. Well if you did it down. He does it now because is the same yesterday today and forever.
Right and you know you look at the four Gospels and just think about the very first gospel, who wrote Matthew was a tax collector.
Tax collectors were known as sellouts. They were known betrayers to the Jewish community say they took their position with Rome and Rome said you need to collect this much for the state and anything else you can collect on top of that you get to keep and they had the ability to exert their power to enrich themselves at other people's expenses so they they saw from people in a system that allow them to do that and you know here here's the guy who wrote the first book of the New Testament. You take a look at Jesus encounter with Zacchaeus, who was not just a tax collector, but a chief tax collector in that particular chapter talks a lot about Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus first encountered Jesus climbed up in the tree all by himself because he probably has no friends and he climbs a tree, probably because he wants to keep her distance because he has no notion in his mind that Jesus would want have anything to do with him.
And Jesus looks up calls by name and says I'm coming to your house today was last person that wanted Zacchaeus's house probably know by her bed and you know and here Jesus is saying I'm like, show you the greatest hospitality you ever dreamed of in your own house, to come, take over as can be the best things ever happen you the best things ever happen to your home and in and change the man you look at the woman in Luke chapter 7.
She's clearly a prostitute coming off the streets, dressed in a very scandalous way she barges into a Pharisees dinner party that Jesus was invited to so they could ask him gotcha questions and and she comes and pulls out all the tools of her trade. Her hair, her lips and her perfume and uses those three things to demonstrate affection and love for Jesus and the religious guys are all men there all you know, scolding her scolding him, appalled that he would give us one of the time of day and then Jesus starts to praise her and so she says put on a clinic for you of what it means to love God you guys don't get it, and enemies are like the guys who'd memorized the Bible right and you know that there so many stories of how Christ would do that, he calls Judas friend while Judas is in the act of betraying him. You know the guy that Jesus called the son of perdition took time to call the guy friend on his way to help me.
It is just unbelievable how kind Christ is curing you describe these biblical scenes and they resonate with all of us and I'm imagining someone who's thinking I know that's all true but where is the standing for holiness for righteousness. Where is the confronting Sam and other people are we just supposed to swallow that and ignore that. I am so glad you asked that question. My favorite question answer is probably because of my camo. I like to be confrontational. Some yes*confronting in the mirror start there.
That's what Jesus said when you're in conflict you're the biggest problem in your in your own eyes.
Of course if you have a situation where this abuse where there is injustice. Obviously, the rule of the game is changed and others protection and boundaries and getting people third parties in the mix to help protect and resolve and and all of that. If you're in a run-of-the-mill conversation about something that's important to you and it's important somebody else all, let's just pick a hypothetical subject in September 2020 politics red state blue state and you know you it's getting heated.
Here's what Jesus says deal with the log in your own first so that you are now qualified to deal with the spec in somebody else's I say leave the spec alone because if I see a speck in your I Bob you don't see it and I don't say anything that spec could lead to infection it could lead to blindness. Eventually, like a spec is not a good thing.
I met my daughter.
The contact got stuck and arrived two nights ago and it was it was off.
You are not loving me if you allow the spec to remove yes but I am not ready to confront that spec until I've dealt with my own log. As Jesus said in, and I think that that are current culture.
This includes the culture of American society that includes the culture of Christians who have allow themselves to be discipled more by American cable news culture than they are by Jesus Christ are part of this as well. It happens in families for sure that we reverse it and we say hey let me deal with that log in your eye. Oh yeah, I know you want to talk about my spec but no, let's talk about the log in your I that's number one. The wrong way to approach it because it's not humble doesn't honor Christ snow what he said and number two you can persuade the person you're just going make a more upset and I hear behind that and it's a brilliant answer because looking at the log in our own eye forces us to a posture of humility. If were really addressing the log in RI, we can't come out of that experience proud Dave is dark you so this is this is a classic Dave Wilson is just that you know you talk about Matthew seven just remind me of some of you heard. I will do will think of this long, but there once was a husband came from way out West always told his wife what he thought was best if she ever tried to cross as she was she would receive no you can stand face to the window honey and I've heard you saying that at weekend. Remember marriage getaways before a lot more that some get exactly what Scott was saying and it's a book and fun. It the inability of us to see our own faults and to see very clearly everybody else's fault and when we do see it when we are forced to confront the log in RI again. We can't come away from that confrontation. Proud, we can't come away thinking I showed them yeah you know now.
It's now or coming to you to say I see a spec but you know what I just had to deal with the fact that I a lot more going on in me than the spec I see in you and God's dealing with me on this. Now I'm in a posture where we can have that dialogue and where you really received what you're hearing for me because you're not going to perceive me coming and saying I'm a Pharisee, but I'm up fellow center think about to not only addressing the logs in our own way but also being willing to name what is right and good from the other person, whether coming from the apostle Paul does this in Athens brilliantly. Acts chapter 17. He walks in and saw these Athenian academic philosophers and are all good, speculating about God are all sharing their own ideas about God and their MNEs grieve to because he says is this idolatry everywhere. People are misleading themselves and each other and the stakes are high.
Says is grieved, the first words out of his mouth is. Men of Athens.
I can see that you're very religious. Just think about that. He's saying to idolaters.
I can see you are very religious people. False religion you are very religious and other you're seeking truth, you're seeking meaning you're seeking beauty or seeking the ultimate you know answers to think that's a good you find something in their faces as some of your own poets and philosophers have said, and that many quotes stoking epicurean philosophers, both of which are pretty toxic systems of philosophy as systems, but he cherry picks a couple of statements that are true and beautiful. The image of God is in every perspective somewhere, and it can be found in the essay cherry picks what does intersect with biblical truth in your own people except I guess what.
And then that becomes the bridge to talk about the truth that were Jewish people in the synagogues in acts 13 and 14. He's speaking all their language Old Testament language.
He is a key you is what we pastors day what we are exiting your audience. Spurgeon talked about how he would have a Bible in one hand and a newspaper in another as he prepared to communicate the gospel and we would not understand the people that were communicating with and respect who they are and where they're at and this is where the parents and adult children or church members who may be on different sides of the political conversation can look at one another and say I know that what's behind the view you're holding to is that you believe in the dignity of all human beings were not arguing over that were not disagreeing over that were on the same page when it comes to that were trying to figure out is how we express that best was that look like now we we just brought the disagreement we've notched it back a level to where maybe some reasonable dialogue can occur tearing down the walls yeah because like in my Bible. I had it marked every kind apologize that because he was a genius and tearing down walls because all their defenses are gone now because Paul is basically saying I see the good in you that guys pray and then he begins to dialogue. I think there so probably so much more open to what he has to say because he's done we can do the same in our homes, as he said that most of us are not naturally good at this right because our our sin nature pollutes how we do this is why the Bible has to correct us and say a gentle answer turns away wrath and and to help us cultivate this and Scott your book is really a guidebook for all of us at a needed time in our culture when gentle answers are not popular they're not trending you don't get good ratings if you have gentle answers and yet it's what the Bible tells us our manner of speech should be. We are making Scott's book available this week to anywhere listers would like to get a copy if you can make a donation to help further the work of family life today to help us reach more people more often with practical biblical help and hope for their marriage and their family. We'd love to say thank you for your support by sending you Scott Saul's book a gentle answer. Our secret weapon in an age of us against them go to family life to a.com. You can make a donation online or call one 800 FL today to donate. Keep in mind your donations are impacting hundreds of thousands of husbands and wives, moms and dads every day all around the world. You're making a difference in their lives in their marriages and in their families.
As you support the ministry of family life to so thanks for partnering with us again would love to send you a copy of Scott Saul's book a gentle answer as a thank you when you donate today go to family life to a.com to donate online or call one 800 FL today to donate over the phone. Now it tomorrow. Working up continue talking about how we have conversations as followers of Christ with people that we don't agree with on important subjects. We do that and still represent Jesus. Well Scott Saul's will be back with us again tomorrow. Hope you'll be back with us as well. Think our engineer today. Keep Lynch along with our entire broadcast production team on behalf of our hosts Damon and Wilson. I'm Bob Lapine.
See you back next time for another edition of family life today.
Family life today is a production of family life of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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