Follow me by Email

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Staying on topic

One thing I've learned while discussing beliefs with friends (or people I don't know) is that it hardly ever stays on topic. There are a few people who are good about sticking to what we are discussing - and I really appreciate that. But inevitably someone will shift the focus from what is being said (the message) to who is saying it (the messenger). Comments will be made about the person instead of about the topic. "You're just attacking." "Why are you so angry?" "You are being illogical." Etc.

From what I've seen, once the focus shifts off the message, it's difficult (if not impossible) to get back on track. It's a very effective way to change the subject to something that the person feels they can control. I wonder if this is done intentionally or subconsciously.

I'm so tired of the focus of the conversation turning to me (I'm sure most of you can relate!). I can be in the middle of a great discussion with friends, and instead of dealing with the evidence I present they prefer to speculate on my motives or my "tone of voice". In doing so, the evidence is never examined. It's completely skipped over when the topic turns personal.

I think the logic goes something like this - if we can discredit the person saying it then we can ignore anything they present. So if we can "prove" they are angry or bitter or whatever then we can write off everything they say as just spiteful and not look at the evidence they present.

While I am not by any means remotely close to being perfect, my motives are typically much better than some people give me credit for. But even if a completely lunatic said something that was true, it would still be true. Truth is true regardless of who says it or what their motives are. Obviously we should speak the truth in love and seek to build up rather than destroy, but shifting the focus of the conversation from the topic at hand to the person you're discussing with doesn't mean what they are saying isn't true. It just ends the discussion. And maybe that's the point.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.