Coercion, dialogue, or just information; what does power use? Is there a single answer? What happens if and when the issues are so compelling, the risk so great, or the stakes so high that getting the right answer is a matter of life and death?
I love listening or part of a conversation when the person speaking is passionately convinced of his or her topic. This isn’t conviction with ego involved, rather a truth statement where you know without a doubt that their soul is completely engaged. The intensity of the conviction is so palatable you can feel it. I suggest that taste with the experience. The heartfelt conviction of truth, priority, and value is there for any and everyone to experience. You also feel the mysterious power that comes when someone compassionately cares about the subject and how it extends to you as the listener.
The challenge comes when one feels this type of conviction on a subject and it involves someone you love. What do you do when you think they are at risk? How far do you go? Is a physical intervention required? Do I force the right answer? Is there a singular right answer?
The simple answer is the obvious one. There isn’t a single answer that applies to every situation. At the same time there are individual situations that automatically lend themselves to a particular answer. I would gently suggest that in society today, at least the one I experience, we have opted out of having personal views by extending these answers to life itself.
Look at God’s model when souls were in the balance.
“Jesus looked over his shoulder and said to them, “What are you after?”
They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”
He replied, “Come along and see for yourself.”
They came, saw where he was living, and ended up staying with him for the day.” (John 1.38, 39a)
Think of the key ingredients; intense, compassionate, community centric conviction; combine these with the Spirit’s leading and you have your answer to any and every opportunity.