It’s important to ask good questions, not to pin somebody in a corner (because that usually only makes the person fight with every defense possible to escape) but to help them explore the reasons behind the decisions they make.
Person #1: Why do you help people?
Person #2: Because it’s the right thing to do.
Person #1: But who says it’s the right thing to do?
Person #2: It just is. Do you really believe it’s not the right thing to do?
#1: I’m not saying that. I’m just curious, because, personally, I believe it’s the right thing to do because God instructs and leads me to help people. It’s His way. I do it to honor Him. But you don’t believe in God, right?
#2: Well, I’m not sure I would go that far. He might exist, but I’m not a fanatic about him, you know? I don’t revolve my life around him. I don’t think he is the ultimate authority who guides everything.
#1: I get what you’re saying. And I’m still curious. If God or someone else doesn’t say it’s important to help people, but we–and many others–agree that it is, where does that value come from?
#2: I see where you’re going with this. We’re about to get into that “there must be absolutes and so God must be in charge” discussion. But I don’t think it’s all about God. I like to help people. It makes me feel good!
#1: If making people helps you feel good, then is helping people more about them or about you?
#2: Well, them, of course.
#1: It’s just an interesting thing to consider, I think. We’re not going to solve this or agree on everything, but isn’t it good to ask ourselves why we do what we do? I mean, what assumptions, beliefs, and misconceptions do we have? And I’m not just talking about you. I need to constantly ask myself questions, too, if I want to grow. I’m confident in a lot of things, but I certainly don’t want to ever assume I have all the answers and should stop exploring.
#2: Yeah. I think we can definitely agree on that.
Sometimes, as Christians, we can excel at picking apart people’s behavior. We can find fault in their logic. But can we find patience to interact with respect and authenticity?
I hope so.