Q: How Do I Help People Care about Truth, not Just Know About It?

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

If a person knows about God and knows about absolute truth, how does he come to accept it? How can I help that person care about that truth, not just know about it?

That is a good question. I’m so glad God brought this question my way because I’ve been struggling through this myself lately too. I don’t have all the answers, but I’ll share with you what He’s been teaching me.

I struggle with this question often because I’m a teacher at heart. I love to learn, assimilate, process, summarize, and pass it on to others. God has just built me to do that very thing. Granted, I’m not the best in the world at it, but I do the best I can for the glory of God. What frustrates me the most is when I do my job in helping someone understand something but then they don’t care about it. I feel like I’ve done all I can, and so it leaves me at a loss. I’m not sure if this is exactly the situation you’re facing, but it sounds similar.

There are three things I’ve been learning about this:

  1. Teaching facts by themselves is not enough. I understand this is trite, but I’ll say it anyway: people want to know how much you care before they care how much you know. This doesn’t mean we have to spend five years developing a relationship with a person first before we share the truth with them. This can simply play out in the attitude we take in our teaching/sharing. Are we truly doing it for their benefit or for ours? How can we share in a way that makes it crystal clear we’re doing it because we love them?
  2. The church is diverse for a reason. If you are into teaching like me, then you need to make sure you are functioning in a healthy, well-balanced church where all the spiritual gifts are allowed to be exercised. God wired me to teach, and forever that is who I’ll be. I can work on the relational side until I’m blue in the face, but that will never be my strength. This isn’t to say I can’t improve and get better at it, but teaching information is just what I do best. The reason God has gifted us differently is so that we would learn how to depend on each other. I’m better at the informational side of ministry, but others are better at the relational side. If you are going witnessing, it may be wise to go in pairs so that there is one of each type! Learn from those that are relationally oriented around you at your church. Allow them and encourage them to exercise their gifts – exhortation, service, helping, mercy, etc. The church really shines when everyone is exercising their own unique gift. It may be helpful for you to introduce this person to one of your friends at church who is more relational.
  3. Ultimately, it’s the work of the Holy Spirit. I’ve come to the humbling conclusion that my praying for someone is more powerful than my teaching someone. As much as I want to make my teaching and presentation as clear as possible, in the end the only way someone’s eyes are opened and the information actually gets to their heart is if the Holy Spirit is at work. So, I would encourage you to pray for this person over and over and over again. God wants us to be persistent in prayer.

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