The Value of Good Questions

Good questions help provide good answers. They also help relationships.

Learning to ask good questions helps us in so many areas of life. Our questions provide information that may not be obtained in any other way. For years I have known my need to ask good, timely questions.

The timely part is often my problem. I know the questions but I don’t ask them at the pertinent time.

We all need to ask good questions, and not just to gain information.

Asking good questions helps us to relate well to the people around us. It helps us deal with contentious issues without harming our relationships.

I have seen this play out several times this week. I have noticed times when a gentle question engendered a positive reaction. I have also seen times when not asking but confronting created more problems than originally existed.

Asking good questions helps our marriages. No one has to communicate well like a married couple. Think of all of the issues–money, children, in-laws, vacations. The list goes on and on.

Learning to ask rather than telling or demanding helps us to relate effectively.

Let’s set up a hypothetical. Suppose you are a family where one spouse is accustomed to attending church and another isn’t. The attender wants desperately for the spouse to know the Lord and love the church.

As much as I would love for the attender to say, “We have to do this!” that may not be effective or edifying. It also may not be following the Golden Rule.

It may be much more effective to simply ask, “What did you think?” Most of us want to give a good, kind, acceptable answer. Asking a question allows for the non-attender to answer without being threatened or judged. And, it may make him or her much more likely to return at another time.

I often tell our men that I don’t want to have someone poke their finger in my chest. I react badly to that.

Do you know what I react well to? A well-asked question that doesn’t threaten or condemn. A question such as, “Could you look at this with me?’ or “Can you help me with a problem?”

Why not try asking thoughtful, kind, and well-timed questions this week?  In fact, why not pray over all your confrontations and ask God to help you deal with them in kind, loving ways?

I think you will find this to be good for your outcome and good for your relationships.

 

 

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About Waylon

I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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[Thanksgiving] I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge— — 1 Corinthians 1:4-5 (NIV)