Persuasion is defined by Merriam-Webster as “the act of causing people to do or believe something”. All of us have had times that someone changed our minds about a purchase or an opinion through their ability to persuade. We have left stores with things we did not really need, but a very persuasive sales person talked us into buying what he/she was selling. Or, what about the times we had our minds really made up about a political candidate until someone very persuasive caused us to change our vote? Persuasion is the gift that some people have to be so earnest and so compelling in their speech that they cause a hearer to change their mind or position on a topic and then move in a totally different direction.
Read these comments about the power of persuasion…..
1) The mind is no match with the heart in persuasion. Everett Dirksen.
2) Character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion. Aristotle.
3) The triumph of persuasion over force is the sign of a civilized society. Mark Skousen.
From the rule of St. Benedict, Sixth Century A.D.–“If any pilgrim monk come from distant parts, with wish as a guest to dwell in the monastery and will be content with the customs which he finds in the place, and do not perchance by his lavishness disturb the monastery, but is simply content with what he finds, he shall be received, for as long a time as he desires.
If, indeed, he finds fault with anything, or expose it, reasonably, and with the humility of charity, the Abbot shall discuss it prudently, lest perchance God has sent him for this very thing. But if he has been found gossipy and contumacious (willfully disruptive and disobedient to authority) in the time of his sojourn as guest, not only ought he not to be joined to the body of the monastery, but also it shall be said to him, honestly, that he must depart.
If he does not go, let two stout monks, in the name of God, explain the matter to him. (Copied). It appears that St. Benedict realized some needed more persuasion than others!
Paul used the word “persuasion” in his letters written in the New Testament era….
2 Timothy 1:12 – For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. Romans 4:20-21 – Yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully persuaded that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. Romans 8:38-39 – For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
One who is persuasive holds a deep conviction, a passion about the topic, and a clarity in presentation of the facts that is undeniable. Surely, when we speak of the faith we have in Christ Jesus, we should be highly persuasive! No one has deeper convictions, more passion, or a better grasp of the facts than a person who has been transformed by Jesus. The Apostle Paul recorded, We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you (hope to persuade you) on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 2 Cor. 5:20.