“Trust is built when we are willing to listen more than we speak.”
Kevin Palau shares the importance of listening and building real relationships with non-Christians.
“We (Christians) are being painted as narrow-minded when it’s not the case and we fight back but that’s totally counterproductive.”
Instead of fighting back and validating the Christian stereotype of being narrow-minded, Kevin suggests a different strategy that should be utilized by Christians.
“We’ve got to be the ones, as the Christ-followers, to take the first step. It is on us to reach out to the LGBT community or people that would even be attacking us because that’s what Jesus modeled.”
We have to take the initiative and reach out.
We have to be willing to listen more than we speak. Being able to listen and not condemn builds trust and trust is a building block of a solid relationship. When talking to non-Christians, we have to patiently listen to their frustrations. Make a point of making sure others feel heard.
When we are tempted to get defensive and fire back, we should bite our tongues and learn to listen and sympathize. Listening and sympathizing can be done without agreeing and condoning.
“You’re not in agreement and compromising Scripture to say something like ‘I’m really sorry you experienced that; no one should be treated that way.’ Being kind and listening is not compromising.”
Many people are under the impression that if we develop a friendship with someone who is far from Christ then somehow we are compromising our faith in the process. This simply isn’t true. How are we to share the gospel with people if we don’t allow ourselves to get close to them?
It is imperative to build relationships in order to spread the Gospel. As Christians, we must build a firm foundation of friendship and trust if we want to have an impact on the lives of those around us. It is important to find common ground to establish a firm foundation for the relationship.
“Ask questions first, and then trust the Holy Spirit to give you that little segue, that bridge to say ‘wow I’m sorry you experienced that, here’s how Jesus Christ has made a difference in my life.’”
Kevin Palau has practiced this in his own life and it has paid great dividends as he has befriended Sam Adams, former Mayor of Portland.
“Sam and I have become friends because we both shared a concern for improving public schools in Portland and helping kids in foster care. He’s heard the gospel now many times clearly, I’ve had a chance to pray with him many many times because we found common ground.”
Key Scriptures: Jeremiah 29:7
Featured Songs: Glow in the Dark by Jason Gray; God of This City by Chris Tomlin; Move (Keep Walkin’) by Toby Mac