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Engagement and Empathy Win Over Others


A vocabulary of persuasion includes the language of empathy and honest acknowledgment of another's perspective. The apostle Paul demonstrated these two qualities when he engaged the philosophers at Mars Hill.


He first acknowledged that they were very religious "in all respects" while he examined the various objects of worship (statues).


Rather than confront their pagan worldview directly, he offered up the explanation for an altar that was inscribed "TO AN UNKNOWN GOD."


He used empathetic language in his explanation that invited dialogue with the Stoic and Epicurean philosophers when they asked him, "May we know what this new teaching is which you are proclaiming?"


Paul's empathetic engagement with the philosophers resulted in many being converted to Christianity and others rejecting it.


Acknowledgment and empathy place you on the same footing as another party to better understand their perspective so you can better frame your own language of persuasion.

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