How many times have you thought you knew someone only to find they have issues in life or hidden problems which you could never have guessed existed? How much do you know about your friend’s family of origin? Do you know where he struggles in his relationship with God or his understanding of Scripture?
What do you know about the quality of her marriage or the struggles she experiences with her husband? [p163]
We all deal with the disconnect between our public reputation and our private struggles. We wonder what people would think if they really knew us [p164]
Another reason we keep things casual is that we buy the lie that we are unique and struggle in ways that no one else does. We get tricked by people’s public personas and forget that behind closed doors they live real lives just like us. [p164]
We do not see our need of help. We are blind. We tend to believe our own arguments and buy into our own excuses. [p165]
Christ was tempted as we are and yet was sinless (Hebrews 4), so we can go to him, in his grace, at our time of need. We can data gather as he did…[I’m not sure that Tripp applies the Christology of Hebrews 4 well to the need for our data gathering. Perhaps this point would have been better with the woman at the well or Zachius, as Christ gathered data about them before he spoke to them.]
Assumptions get in the way of asking better questions. Why did you do that? What were you thinking and feeling at that time? What was the purpose of what you were doing? [p168]
If you read the bible you will know and understand people. [p168]
Ask people to define their terms. (What?)
Ask people to clarify what they mean with concrete, real life examples of the terms they have used. (How?)
Ask people to explain why they responded as they did in the examples they have given. (Why?) Reasons, purposes, values and desires.
Asking good questions is doing the work of change. [p173]
Ask survey questions, focused on job, marriage, parenting, family, spiritual life, relationship to the body of Christ, relationship to neighbours, finances, sex, communication, problem solving, goals, motives, desires etc.
Clarifying questions. Why, how, why, how often, when?
List of great questions to ask married couples in counselling on p175. [stick a copy in your filofax]
What to think about and apply
Getting to know people takes time and lots of questions. I am often pushed for time, with a diary which is packed and a to-do list which is never done. I need to create space to be able to get to know the people who are closest and most important to me; not just my family but key church members, as well as those in need.