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Think Before You Ask

  The moment the words passed through the door of my lips, I longed to retract them. My question regarding her brother’s death entered our conversation prematurely in our newfound friendship. In my enthusiasm to connect, I did damage. The painful look on this dear woman’s face remained with me long after the encounter.

The moment the words passed through the door of my lips, I longed to retract them. My question regarding her brother’s death entered our conversation prematurely in our newfound friendship. In my enthusiasm to connect, I did damage. The painful look on this dear woman’s face remained with me long after the encounter.

Would you agree that our society values (perhaps, over values) asking questions? In fact, websites abound to prove the popularity of this lucrative industry of intrigue.

You and I are led to believe:

• The artfully articulated question

• Spoken in the correct tone

• At just the right moment

• With appropriate body language

• Will work wonders

Right? Well, perhaps.

But, have you ever asked a question you wish you had not asked? I certainly have. In fact, the moment the words passed through the door of my lips, I wanted to retract them. My question regarding her brother’s death entered our conversation prematurely in our newfound friendship. In my genuine enthusiasm to connect, I did damage. The painful look on this dear woman’s face, as she struggled to respond, still remains with me. Therefore, I take to heart the admonition: Think Before You Ask.

Think Before You Ask

What types of questions are not constructive? Questions like the following:

1. Why do you keep doing that?

2. Will you ever learn?

3. How could you be so careless?

4. Why couldn’t you be like _________? (Your sister, her husband, my dad?)

5. How much did you spend?

6. Are you still trying to lose weight?

7. What were you thinking?

8. Why did it take you so long?

9. When do you plan to have another child?

10. Why did you wear that?

11. What kind of cancer took his life?

Think Before You Ask

What are guidelines to help us determine if a question is appropriate or inappropriate?

Curiosity over compassion:

No one likes to feel his or her life is the site of an archeological dig. If our curiosity is driving our inquiry, we need to back away.

Wrong motivation:

Our ulterior motive carries influence. In spite of our best efforts to cover up, if at the core of our question, there is a nosy, judgmental or pharisaical bent, we should remain quiet.

Wrong time:

Maybe we want to ask, maybe we ought to ask, and maybe we need to ask. But maybe Not Now. I particularly see this in my marriage. Timing can make the critical difference in determining if a question is a good question or a bad question.

Wrong assumption:

Do I need to know? Perhaps, the answer to the query is actually none of my business. Discretion and wisdom need to be our forerunners in asking questions. As mentioned earlier, are we genuinely concerned, or are we just curious?

Wrong person:

Could it be that someone else should be asking this question? Perhaps the question is one hundred percent appropriate, but a better outcome would transpire if someone else asked.

Think Before You Ask

So, are we still encouraged to ask questions? Yes, of course.

We just need to Ask Him before we ask them.

Living With Eternal Intentionality

When do you recall being asked a question that you wish you had never been asked?

When did you ask a question you should not have asked?

How did The Lord lead you out of the dilemma?