From the movie Inception…
Saito: Inception. Is it possible?
Arthur: Of course not.
Saito: If you can steal an idea, why can’t you plant one there instead.
Arthur: Okay, this is me, planting an idea in your mind. I say: don’t think about elephants. What are you thinking about?
Arthur: Right, but it’s not your idea. The dreamer can always remember the genesis of the idea. True inspiration is impossible to fake.
Cobb: No, it’s not.
As a man, I like to fix problems. Often, this includes problems that I’m not necessarily asked to fix. If I perceive a “defect” in one of my brothers or sisters in Christ, I feel the need to call it out and offer solutions. How often are my suggestions received with perfect receptivity? Not very often. Why not!?
If I really think about it, it makes a lot of sense. Being told to do something better, or differently, has never made me happy. Whenever my Dad would tell me I had to get better grades, I almost always responded negatively. If I realized on my own accord that getting better grades would help me in the long run (with colleges and such), then I found myself more motivated in school. I had come to a conclusion on the inside, not from someone on the outside. It was my idea.
As a missionary, I have a lot of opportunities to speak spiritual or moral truth into the lives of the people kind of like my Dad tried to speak academic truth into my life. If I see or hear that people are acting in ways that could be bringing them away from God, I can help them recognize this and discover possible ways to refocus their lives on Christ. Like I mentioned before, this imposition into their lives is not always received well. If I see that a friend is watching way too much television for their own good and not leaving time for God, and I walk right up to them and say, “You really shouldn’t watch so much TV.” What good does it do? There must be a better way.
Jesus shows us the best approach to helping our friends live holy lives: He asks questions. We, as humans, are naturally inclined towards pride. It’s part of our fallen nature. So when someone else tells us how we are supposed to be, our natural response is, “No.”
Jesus asks questions so that we can go inside our own hearts and ponder if our actions are truly bringing us closer to God. In the movie Inception, the main characters deceptively plant a thought within someone else’s mind by entering their dreams and making them believe it was their idea all along. When we ask others questions that help them ponder their way of life, it’s not deceptive, nor is it forceful (like inception); it truly is their idea. True inspiration is impossible to fake. We are simply guiding them into reflection. A question is received much better than a command. I call this “Missionary Inception.”
It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of life and never stop to think about our way of life and how our relationship with God is growing (or decaying). Instead of always bluntly calling each other out and imposing our thoughts on others, let’s try and lead each other into reflection and prayer. That way, together we may allow God to show us how to be holy.