We tend to exaggerate the power of reason in our interpersonal communication. And we underestimate the power of what is reasonable and hidden below the surface.
“Be reasonable”, a spouse says, not sensing that hurt or fear has shoved reason aside. “If only Dad would listen to reason”, a teenager storms to her mother, not knowing that her dad is reacting the way he is because of a forgotten incident in his own teen years.
The inexperienced persuader marshals all his reasons logically and cannot understand why it is not working. The more seasoned communicator understands from experience that if the heart and imagination and feelings are not moved, reason probably will not persuade.
But more lies under the surface of communication than emotions and past experiences. Jesus was always conscious of a dark element which opposed the truth…
His disciples would face the same enemy that he had faced. They would experience the same opposition. But they could also count on the same resource. The Holy Spirit who had been Jesus’ ally could be was also to be his gift to them…
With calm confidence and with the repeated encouragement “Do not be afraid” Jesus sent them into the world as his father had sent him – to bear witness to the truth, to face opposition and rejection and dullness. But they knew they only had to ask to receive the power and wisdom to open closed minds and stubborn hearts to the light of God himself.
Adapted from Transforming Leadership by Leighton Ford (1991, InterVarsity Press)