Are there people in your church that baffle you?
If you have ever watched Big Bang Theory, you have an idea of what the world of the highly intelligent looks like. (If you haven’t, know that the show is about highly intelligent people who don’t know Jesus and their endeavor to make sense of the world.)
What do you do with people who are defined by what they know and their ability to out-think people?
Let’s take a look at Sheldon:
Sheldon was raised in a highly structured, fundamentalist home. This strong structure allowed him to create rules by which he can understand and interact with society. It also taught him a religion based on rules rather than relationships.
Relationships are difficult.
As a theoretical physicist, Sheldon is very fortunate to have a group of friends that tolerate his quirks and have become part of his support system.
Most people in Sheldon’s position don’t have a strong support system. Without a real understanding of relationships, it is difficult for them to understand what love looks like from God.
However, they are still human, and have a love language. You can help them learn to understand God’s love by helping people in your church become their community. Learn their love language. Regardless of how analytical they are, they will learn that you love them if you understand them.
Humility is harder.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” This phrase is found in Proverbs 9:10 and Psalms 111:10. Both scriptures then connect knowledge to understanding. However, the first step is admitting that we are powerless. When you are smarter than everyone else you know, it is hard to understand that you are powerless.
We can learn to admit we are powerless when someone who cares about us walks with us in crisis. Be prepared to show compassion and to walk people to the God when life gets complicated. This won’t be part of their natural response, but when people with high intelligence meet complex emotional situations, you will have an opportunity to help them with this first step to humility.
Learn to listen
People with high intelligence have a tendency to see things that we don’t see. However, they think what they see is obvious. Take time to listen. You will learn that they see undercurrents within your community and congregation that won’t come to the surface for a long time.
Help him engage
Sheldon is a learner. He won’t always believe you when you talk, but he will hear God’s voice if you help him explore the Bible. C.S. Lewis was a Sheldon, so was Josh McDowell. Both men started out not believing in God, but their investigations showed them otherwise.
Sheldon needs Jesus because right now the only person he knows he can depend on is himself. His experience is that people don’t understand him, and eventually they will let him down.
He might have run into religion in the past, but he probably only heard the rules.
You can show him that God is real and rewards those who earnestly seek Him. As you walk with Sheldon, you will get the opportunity to watch him learn that he is powerless and God is powerful. God wants to reach into Sheldon’s life and show himself real. You will have the amazing opportunity to be part of the process.
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