I prayed those words over 2 years ago now, but it still rings true today. Sometimes we can have the truth, and want to share the truth, but our presentation is not acceptable to the listener. Each person receives in a different way. Some need subtle hints, and some need to be hit over the head.
I remember being trained years ago to counsel women with unplanned pregnancies to always let them know you care number one and to have different communication skills.
Examples of these are:
Reflective listening: This is basically repeating back what the person said. You are acting as a mirror to reflect back to them what they said. Have you ever listened to yourself or had someone reflect back to you what you were saying, and when you heard it come out of someone else's mouth you thought, "That does not sound rational!"
An example of this: I was preparing to do an ultrasound on a young woman years ago. She looked at me and said, "I need to get an abortion. I know it's murder."
I looked at her and repeated those words. "This is what you just said to me, these are your words not mine. 'I need to get an abortion. I know it's murder.'"
She looked up at me and said, "I did say that and when I hear you say it, it doesn't even make sense."
Just reflecting back to her what she said helped her see that she was not thinking straight at this time of crisis in her life. I was able to continue talking with her at this point, and she was open to it.
Interpretive listening: This is where you say back to them what you believe they are saying but in your own words. This really helps someone understand what you are hearing.
Example: Someone says to you, " You try raising two children on your own, working everyday, and no support. I can't have another baby!"
You say, "You sound overwhelmed and not getting support at home."
This simple statement helps the person know you hear how their feeling. Someone can really open up to you if they know your listening not only to their words, but to their feelings.
The old saying, "People don't care what you know, until they know that you care," is so true. We have to learn to present ourselves first before we can ever present the One we serve.
Tender confrontation: This is to challenge someone to see the consequences of their thinking.
Example: A mother comes to you and tells you her 18 year old daughter is going to move in with her boyfriend. You know the mother lives with her boyfriend. This woman believes, in, "do as I say not as I do." Your motive must be in love when you confront this. You could say, "I feel concerned that she may not understand you are trying to direct her on a good path, because she sees you as doing the same thing. What do you think?
The point of confrontation is not to hurt or bring shame, but to help open up their eyes to the truth. If they believe you are judging them on their behavior they will shut down. If you can help them see your motive is love they will be much more open to the gospel, and what the Lord has to say in His word about a situation.
Lord I need accurate presentation. I need to present myself to the person I'm sharing the gospel with, the good news, to understand and receive me first, so I can present You, the true answer.
Proverbs 18:13 He who answers a matter before he hears it,
It is folly and shame to him. [NKJV]