“The Kingdom of heaven is like…”
I have found that it is more effective to ask questions and share stories than it is to supply answers and give lectures.
It is generally better if someone discovers truth for themselves than simply having it handed to them. Questions draw out what is already within a person–things they maybe have not dug themselves to find. Questions induce searching. Answers, on the other hand, tend to squelch thinking, or at least not encourage it. Simple or pad answers especially can even shut people down. “Here’s your answer, now shut up and stop thinking!” is what I’ve heard loud and clear from many people over the years. But questions engage people and promote further thinking.
I remember a chapter in a parenting book I read years ago entitled “Lectures Don’t Work.” It was a marvelous chapter basically showing the ineffectiveness of lectures when it comes to your children. Perhaps there’s a time for lectures. I mean we do have to teach and instruct our children and one another, but stories are the stuff of life that sink into us. We remember events and people in pictures and story lines not bits of information like a computer. We learn by association, hence, metaphor. Look at the brilliant stories Jesus told to illustrate the kingdom of God.
We also learn a lot from what other people do more than what they say or tell us to do. Many times people don’t even have to tell us what to do, we’re just inspire by them and what they’ve done, and we go and do the same. We’re inspired by stories of survival, achievement, and sacrifice because we are tangibly reminded of what we are capable of–of what others have actually done. Or if you’re a pessimist you’re reminded of even more things you can’t do. Oh I’m just bein’ silly…but I guess that is true.
Anyway, try more questions and stories. You may be surprised at how much further you get through to people, or more accurately, what you can help people to see that is already inside them.
“The kingdom of heaven is within you.” -Jesus of Nazareth