I’ve never been accused of being a woman of few words, especially if you ask my teenagers lately. I find myself exasperated in parenting, giving diatribes in an effort to help my kids stop fighting, be kind, and take personal responsibility instead of blaming others when they make a mistake. I talk until I’m blue in the face and not much seems to change. Some days I want to throw up my hands and quit.
This week in Bible study we looked at the story of the woman caught in adultery in John 8. Something stood out to me about Jesus’s words. He didn’t use many. While He was quite vocal when teaching God’s Word at different times, He often asked questions and engaged in dialogue with people, listening as much as He talked. He wrote in the sand (boy I would like to know what He wrote!), and then He made one statement. (“He who is without sin cast the first stone”). Finally, He asked the woman a question, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” Then He made one simple statement that carried a lot of teaching in it, ““Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
As I read through Scripture, I find Jesus asking questions a lot. He is the God of the universe who knows everything, and yet He asked things like:
- Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your lifespan? Matthew 6:27
- Do you believe I can do this? Matthew 9:28
- Why did you doubt? Matthew 14:31
- But who do you say that I am? Matthew 16:15
- What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life and what can one give in exchange for his life? Matthew 16:26
- Did you never read the Scriptures? Matthew 21:42
These are just a few recorded in Matthew’s gospel of the hundreds of questions Jesus asked over His three year ministry span. Last week we called a family meeting and asked this question, “What is one thing you’d like to be different about what goes on in our family?”
Each child answered differently. One thought people should not leave their stuff all over the house, another had a concern over more fair morning bathroom usage. We could all agree when someone mentioned the unkindness expressed toward each other, and one felt like many rules were unfair. (Shocker)
Why ask such a question? Because rather than preach at them about many of these issues which weren’t new to us, asking the question brought about dialogue, brainstorming solutions together, and better learning. Now of course we didn’t resolve all these issues in a twenty minute family meeting. However, we are working on them. We are all more aware of what is bugging the others, and we will continue to ask questions and attempt to listen knowing we can’t solve every problem. Asking questions does brings us closer in relationship and helps us discover truths that sink deeper when we come to them on our own. Proverbs 20:5 says,
“Though good advice lies deep within the heart, a person with understanding will draw it out.”
Jesus modeled this with His disciples, so perhaps I would do well to use less words, more questions, and grow bigger ears to listen. Here are some questions I’m going to try to implement with our kids in the next few weeks.
- Of all that you’ve told me, which part is the most important for me to understand?
- Why do you think that happened?
- How could you manage your time better in the future?
- How would you like to be treated in that situation?
- Which consequence would you like to choose for that bad decision?
If you have some good questions that you have found helpful in parenting, I’d love to hear them. Please leave a comment below. As key disciplers in our children’s lives, we can learn from Jesus about asking more questions and using fewer words. However, this model can also translate into our marriages, workplaces, and churches also. This week I’m going to ask God for an awareness in all my interactions to ask good questions, listen more, and see what positive changes He might bring. I hope you’ll join me.