The Participation Factor

Suppose you think one member of your group is dominating the discussion, with the result that others are becoming passive and silent.  How could you deal with this situation in a way that speaks truthfully, says only what is helpful for building others up, and is kind, passionate, and forgiving?

I wanted to laugh out loud at this question.  It tickled me silly, to be honest.  Because it’s SOOOOO Laodicea, it’s not funny.  Warm fuzzies oozing from it.

Now I know what the average warm-fuzzy is thinking… “That’s a serious problem.  It happens all of the time. THAT PERSON MUST BE SILENCED – made a part of the group just like everyone else.”  In sweetness with love and gentle words, of course.  It’s damaging to let them lead.

Think outside of the box for just a moment.  Think John the Baptist.  He spoke as a dominant character to the point where the Pharisees weren’t sure what to do with him.  They became silent and passive.  They wanted him silenced… without damaging their shiny image as religious leaders, of course.

Think Christ the Savior.  He was a dominant character who spoke in authority.  The sanhedrin wanted him silenced… How about Paul of Tarsus?  He spoke more dominantly than the other Christians of the apostolic era… he had so many trying to silence him.

Some people are teachers.  Some have more knowledge than others.  They dominate for a very good reason – because they can share with the others who need edification, who need to learn.  They have a heart for giving and building up others.  Why is this automatically considered a bad thing?  If we are to be truthful, 90% of the church-goers today don’t know much.  Don’t put much time into searching God’s word for truth.  Don’t really make seeking him their goal.  So when someone does – and this leads to excitement in sharing – they are ‘the bad guy’ because they are dominant?  Newsflash: there’s ALWAYS a dominant person in a group.  If the person’s intentions are pure, and edification is the goal, then why is there a “problem” with this person?

Is it Biblical to take that person down from the closer place he has to Christ?  If he has grown further than others, does that mean he’s a danger to the body of Christ, and needs to be dragged from that place he’s strove for and shoved in with the lukewarms and mediocres who don’t actively seek to be that close?

This question looked scewed to me in the beginning, and I’m hoping you can see why I feel that way about it.  Now think along another train:  Ephesians 4 says to put off falsehood and speak truthfully.  To build up others, to edify, to have a righteous anger.  Proverbs 27 says to sharpen each other.

Let’s turn our focus from the ‘dominating person’ to the ‘sullen n’ silents’.  Can people who are silent and passive edify?  Build up others?  NO.  The Bible says for two or three to agree together, not for the two to get silent and passive when the third speaks out.  Not for the two to decide the third needs to go, or to be silenced, or whatever.  Does that lead to edification?  Can the motivation behind this behavior be pure?  NO.

Suppose you think one member of your group is dominating the discussion, with the result that others are becoming passive and silent. 

How do you deal with this situation?  I would have to address those who are becoming passive and silent.  The dominating one – so long as they are teaching truth and speaking out for the good of the others – is fulfilling scriptural commands.  We are to go, to teach, to share, to edify, to build up.  Are we called to be passive and silent?  NO.  Are they fulfilling scriptural commands to edify, to build up, to agree, to sharpen each other?  NO.

I’m sick of the Pharisee mentality in the church.  Stop bashing the teachers.  Stop silencing the seekers.  Stop getting attitudes towards those sharing Christ of a passionate heart.  That’s giving the devil a foothold WAYYYY moreso than a person teaching truth.  That’s malice. That’s worthless behavior.  That’s allowing bitterness, wrath, and anger to have a place in your heart.

And that’s all I have to say on the subject.

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