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I don't understand you. Refusing to Understand


If you have not read Stories Versus Truth, you may want to read that before reading this.


You may spend a lot of time with someone who gives you no feedback at all and then says, "I don't understand what you are talking about."  

They may say things like, "Your answers are meaningless babble."  If you have a record of the things you said, you may find that you were not as clear as you could have been or you may find that everything was stated clearly from your side.  These are factors in how you respond.

This type of response has to be handled by the Holy Spirit.  Working over email is different from working on a blog or in person.

Here are three general scenarios: in-person, email or presentation, or blog.

  1. In person, you need to ask for feedback frequently.  If you don't give opportunity for feedback, it is possible that you have confused the person.  The human mind is actually not all that strong and is easily confused.  Jesus was talking about this when he told the people that new wine cannot be put into old wine bottles.  The things of the Spirit of God will never coexist with the ideas of the corrupted human mind.  When someone tries to add God's righteousness to all of their own sin, they become confused. 

    When you ask them, "What specifically seems like babble," they will answer you.  If they say, "Everything" that is most likely a stonewalling tactic.  They have probably been reading some negotiation books that were written by lawyers and have learned some bad communication habits from these books.  The effort may be to put the entire burden for the conversation on you even if it was the unbeliever who initiated the conversation.  Always keep in mind that it is God Who is speaking to them, not you.  God is speaking to them, and a small part of how God is speaking to them is through you.  They are responsible for how they respond to God, not you.  You are called to be a faithful witness who ministers by the Spirit of the Living God.  You are to say God's words by His Spirit.  That's it.  If you start wanting to win an argument, this doesn't come from the Holy Spirit.  If you want to "get this person saved," that is not the responsibility that God gave you.  It may seem strange, but you are out of God's will in this case.  God will give you a heart that cares for this person in any case, because regardless of how much a person has committed herself to Satan, God cares for that person and so will you.  You will  pray for them.  Your heart will yearn for their soul.  You will feel sorry for them.  But this desire to win does not come from God. What do you say if they reject Christ and just want to argue?

  3. Over email:
    1. The person may genuinely not understand what God is saying to them through you because they don't want to obey God.  Jesus stated this very plainly and in a number of different ways.  Those who don't receive Jesus always reject Him because they love darkness rather than light.  You can listen to these people in conversation or see their posts on and they give advice that calls light darkness and darkness light just as the God told us that they would.  This type of attitude causes a person to be unable to receive the things of God.  They are willingly ignorant and have consistently, over a long period of time, refused to allow God into their thinking.  As a result, God turned them over to their own useless mind which is incapable of understanding anything, let alone the things of the Spirit of the Living God.
    3. If you aren't getting feedback over a long period of time (this may happen if they toss the elephant and it takes a while to respond to their many points) and you get this type of response, it may be that the person is using an old negotiation tactic. 

      When a company is trying to sell a product to another company where negotiations are carried out ruthlessly in a hardball manner, one tactic that is used is the "I don't understand" tactic.  The company selling the service goes through a presentation at great effort and cost, seeking to make everything easy to understand.  At the end of the presentation, the team using the unfair negotiation tactic simply says, "We don't understand."  When they are asked which part they don't understand, they say, "The whole thing."  The object of such a tactic is to wear down the seller and then to try to negotiate for a very low price since they see no benefit.  There are some who use this tactic when they hear the gospel.

      A similar response can happen after a person sees or hears a presentation or a sermon that proclaims some part of the Bible.

      Unbelievers who use tactics do so because they don't know what is actually going on.  They think that it is the responsibility of the person who is following Christ to convince them that God is real or that God cares enough about them to call to them or that God speaks and leads or whatever happens to be the topic.  In fact this is not at all what is going on.  What is happening is that God is speaking to them through you, the follower of Christ.  God doesn't hold His witness responsible for the unbeliever's belief or lack of belief.  The unbeliever bears the full responsibility of responding to the Holy Spirit, the One Whom he or she is actually rejecting and refusing to cooperate with. (some caveats about hearing God's Voice)

  4.  If you are debating on a blog, you are probably wasting your time.  An unbeliever who lurks on blogs looking for arguments is usually hardened against God.  They want a public show to demonstrate how smart they are.  When you ask them something that doesn't allow them to be a big shot and a bully, they drop out of the conversation.  For instance, ask them the following:  "Please show me the repeatable scientific experiments that I can do to show that . . ."    ". . . that God doesn't exist."   ". . . that molecules-to-man evolution actually did happen--not just some story about how it might have happened and not the presupposition that it happened."   ". . . that God doesn't communicate with those who yield themselves to Christ to follow Him."   ". . . that God doesn't speak to His people through the Bible."  ". . . that you don't know that God exists."  ". . . that God didn't provide enough evidence in His creation to make Himself obvious."  Think about the source of where they are getting their information.  In the author's experience, they aren't be able to understand because they don't want to understand.  They are willingly ignorant.

See the baloney detector for more information.


Last updated: Dec, 2013

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