by Sherry Bohn, Entrust, Massachusetts
Questions. They are not created equal.
Who are you?
Why did you do that?
How do disc brakes work?
What did the author mean when she said …?
What was your best learning experience?
Are you hungry?
What do you plan to do this weekend?
What makes the biggest difference in the questions we form? Could it be attitude?
Questions reveal attitude toward others, even if attitude wants to hide. What attitudes could be behind our questions?
I’m the boss and you will do this my way.
I know more than you do.
I want to hear your ideas and thoughts.
I want to help you be as much as you can be.
I will help you prepare to reach your potential.
I want to understand and know you.
What are the best attitudes to have in order to ask the best questions?
Maybe to answer that we need to go back before there were questions. In Genesis 1 we are told that God created humankind in his image. The Bible tells us that “God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.” (Gen 1:27 NIV) There are many facets of the image of God. We are created to be like God in many of those facets.
In the image of God: relational
God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have relationship. As humans we recognize our thirst for relationship, too. Much of the Old and New Testaments are filled with best practices for relating to others and God. Maintaining a good relationship with God and with others is a vital characteristic of humans created in God’s image. If we look at the relationships within the Trinity, we see the Father, Son and Holy Spirit with a holy attitude toward each other showing respect and deference, listening, hearing and honoring each other.
Relationship is also key in our learning situations since most questions require at least two people: a questioner and an answerer. A helpful, constructive, learning attitude supports a good and respectful relationship between the questioner and the answerer, enabling a better experience for both parties.
In the image of God: creative
God is creative and he gives us creative gifts. The Bible starts with God creating the world (Genesis 1). In Exodus 31 we read that the Lord filled chosen people with the Spirit giving them wisdom, understanding, knowledge and artistic skill in gold, silver, bronze, stone and all sorts of crafts. Jesus left this earth but sent the Holy Spirit to empower and teach the church. God intentionally gives spiritual gifts to individuals within the church, based on his choice, not human merit. (Rom 12:1-8, 1 Cor 12 and Eph 4:1-16) The God-given gifts and church offices are unique, creative, and not to be used for personal aggrandizement, but for the strengthening of God’s family, the church, and individual and corporate health. If one part of the body is missing, the whole body suffers.