13 Oct Thread #127: 8 Things to Remember When You Have to Defend Yourself in Public
There are a few times in every life when you find yourself misunderstood by a group of people close to you. It may be at work, in church, in your circle of friends or even in your home or extended family circle. In these moments you’ll need to take charge of the stage and tell your story so you can control the message. Without it, those who misunderstand you will tell the story and get your actions and motivations wrong causing you to lose your precious interpersonal connection, bond, influence and the reputation you’ve taken pains to build over a lifetime.
Today’s Thread shows us how the Apostle Paul expertly handled the situation when it happened to him. This is a must teaching for anyone serving in leadership.
Eight things to remember when you have to defend yourself in public
1. Keep your head (Be Calm): We really have to become better at this as believers. Jesus anoints us to be peacemakers and to bring reconciliation.
Keep calm and in control of your own emotions. Call the situation what it is in your mind and disconnect emotionally from it before you attempt to go further.
Even in the home— In families where parents are at war with a child- camera’s reveal that mostly the fights are started by the parent. Overreactions escalate. It’s like killing flies with a hammer. When you are suddenly in a charged environment, realize where you are and calm yourself and take charge of your actions. Don’t react to them. Take charge of the situation by taking charge of yourself.
2. Watch your tone. Gestures, tone of voice. Keep things civil. (avoiding “hot button” words that close their hearts and minds immediately. Watch your eyes and hand gestures)
3. Amp up your stage energy and seek to gain their hearing: Paul hushed the crowd, he drops Gamaliel’s name, etc. He works to get them to really listen.
4. When you have their attention first, Find common ground between you.
In this Situation Paul Does Five Things
• 21.37 Spoke to Greek to find common ground with the soldier.
• Ch 22 Switched to Hebrew, their heart language
• 22.1 “Brothers and Fathers”
• 22.3 “I am a Jew..from this city…zealous for the Law just like you are today”
• 22.12 Ananias, devout according to the Law,
5. Be sincere. Everyone will read any attempt to manipulate or minimize.
6. Nail down the objective facts without emotion.
7. Use storytelling vs opinion arguing. Everyone will listen to your personal story, but not to your opinions.
8. Trust God to use the situation no matter how it turns out.
Paul looks into the faces of his attackers and knows that he’s been in their exact shoes before. Paul had been in the crowd. On that day so may years ago, Stephen had lost and was not able to turn the heart of his attackers away from their plan to kill him. Paul even held their coats while they murdered him but Stephen’s words, manner, and testimony affected him. God used that death for his glory.
Paul is encouraged by the personal prophecies he has received in recent months and he boldly launches into telling his personal story of encountering Jesus. This is an amazing opportunity for him. He gets to give his testimony to the core leaders of the nation of Israel for the first time since his conversion. Live or die, he has already gotten what he’s after, sharing his testimony and declaring the gospel to these key influencers.