Perception Equals Reality

I once asked my mentor to read an article I was eager to share with the world. Halfway through, he put it down. “Joy, you have left your audience, gone behind a lectern, and pointed your finger at me.”

A much better approach is: “Here’s something I’ve discovered on my journey. What do you think?”

The woman at the well in John 4 provides a great example. If anyone had the credentials to convey a message, she did. She had met a man who plainly told her He was the Messiah, and proved it by knowing all about her—she had the truth!

But who could she tell? Her listeners would never perceive her as an expert. So she started her story with an attention grabber. “Come see a man who told me everything I ever did!” Then, instead of telling them what they needed to know, she invited them to discover it: “Could this be the Messiah?”

Avoid teaching and preaching with your writing. Instead, invite readers to a grand discovery.

Photo: Joy GageJoy Gage is the author of 16 books (fiction, nonfiction, and Bible studies), a contributor to seven anthologies, and a Guild mentor. Her magazine credits include The Saturday Evening Post, Moody Magazine, Home Life, and The Christian Reader.

Pointing image: Teerapun /


  1. Rachel Laird says

    Joy, I agree with you. I had a friend very kindly point that out to me once and I’ve tried my best to invite them to discover what I did, rather than point fingers.

    It’s good that I happened to read this today. Good job.

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