This is important: to get to know people, listen, expand the circle of ideas. The world is crisscrossed by roads that come closer together and move apart, but the important thing is that they lead towards the Good. – Pope Francis
I don’t always like the tone of what Steven Crowder does or even the topics he chooses, but I do like the concept of his Youtube show, Change My Mind. In theory, Steven Crowder shows up to a college campus (usually liberal), sets up a table with a sign that asks (more like challenges) others to change his mind on a subject.
This quote, from a Reddit thread, about the Youtube show perfectly describes the challenges that come with changing someone’s mind.
What I think is really interesting and effective is that he shows the everyday ignorance that people hold, and that people don’t back up their opinions with facts as much as they should given how polarized a lot of opinions are right now. The show is effective not because he’s right, but because he’s prepared for an argument and the people he confronts aren’t, even worse they’re emotional about the issues.
The process of changing someone’s mind, according to this quote, usually involves
- someone’s ignorance being exposed
- someone getting emotional about their beliefs
- someone getting mad and an argument ensues
- people shout down and everyone walks away, more entrenched than they were before.
This is often the outcome of Steven’s show.
So, I ask, “Can I change YOUR mind? “
I don’t think I can. The mind and the heart are interlocked. I can’t change your mind without changing your heart. Yes, they’re connected, but the mind and the heart are different beasts. The mind responds to logic and the heart to feelings and that’s why we struggle with our beliefs and why we rarely change our minds. We are emotionally connected to an idea which makes it much harder to change it.
We believe things based on culture, how we were raised, science, religious beliefs, personal experience, personal preferences, etc.
A question we should ask ourselves is , “Why do I want to change your mind in the first place?” What’s the end goal? Will me changing your mind,
- make the world a better place?
- make us better friends?
- make you a better person?
or does the thought of changing someone’s mind give us a notch in our belt, a personal victory? I guess that depends on the topic.
Did Jesus change people’s minds about Him?
If you looked at the crowds that yelled, “crucify him” you might say no. If you asked the thief on the cross who said, “this man as done nothing wrong” or the centurion who said, “surely this man is the son of God” you would say yes.
I do not believe it was ever Jesus’ mission to “change people’s minds”, but He did want to change their lives
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, Luke 4:18
Jesus proclaimed who he was, did good, and let the works he did speak for Himself. In fact, upon threatening of stoning, He asked, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”.
Jesus didn’t challenge others belief, save for the Pharisees, as much as He invited them to experience who He was,
“The Jews were amazed and asked, “How did this man attain such learning without having studied?” “My teaching is not My own,” Jesus replied. “It comes from Him who sent Me. If anyone desires to do His will, he will know whether My teaching is from God or whether I speak on My own.…
It was a heart issue, faith issue, a desire issue that Jesus was dealing with.
Jesus changed the hearts of people, and ultimately their minds, by living out five important principles we can emulate.
Jesus hung out with people who were not like him
Jesus spent time with Pharisees, Sinners, the rich ,the poor, women, men, and Samaritans. Jesus spent time with people across gender, socio-economics, and spiritual conditions. He knew their hearts because of the actions (Luke 5:22). He observed and took notes before engaging in conversation.
If we do not get out of our comfort zones, we will never see or feel what others are feeling. This creates a lack of empathy and which allows fear of others to control us. The more time we spend with others, while holding on to the truth of the gospel, the more effective evangelists we’ll be.
Jesus practiced what he preached
Jesus said, upon his arrest, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me as you would an outlaw? Every day I sat teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest Me.” Jesus was not hiding in the synagogues or behind a political position. He practiced compassion out in the open, and let people see who he was at all times.
Jesus had honest conversations about hard things
Jesus met with a woman at the well. This woman was despised among other women for having so many husbands and that’s why she went to the well at noon, so she did not have to associate with the other women. This woman was also a Samaritan. So, Jesus and this woman talked, not argued about three difficult things
- They talked about difference between their races and the politics thereof.
- They talked about what real worship is.
- They talked about this woman’s personal life in a non-judgmental way
So, Jesus broke all the rules, never talk about politics and religion and a man should never talk to a woman, alone, about their personal lives. This was a recipe for arguing and yelling, but that’s not what happened.
Because there was a conversation instead of a confrontation, the Holy Spirit worked in this woman’s life and she saw the Lord for who He was and she went back to her town and shared what she experienced.
We can make changing people’s minds our goal or we can be a part of changing people’s lives. Jesus wasn’t looking for agreement or consensus, he wanted to reveal God to those he needed Him and we can do the same if we want to.
Did I change your mind about anything? Let me know in the comments.