Conversations in heaven will be upside down

Have you heard of the seven layers of why? I use it whenever I want to get to the bottom of my heart's motivation for something I do.

For example, conversations. I wanted to find out what my fallen heart's motivations are in Earth 1.0 conversations. That way I could imagine how conversations in a world with perfect love would be different.

To do that, I made my wife join me in an exercise of the seven layers of why. Here's how it works.

You start by asking yourself, "why do I enjoy [conversations with close friends]?" Once you have your answer, you ask again, "why do I enjoy [answer]?" And so on and so forth seven more times.

But asking "why?" sometimes puts yourself on the defensive, so I like to change it to "what do you like about...?"

The heart behind Earth 1.0 Conversations

I'll take you through mine to see what I mean.

Q1: What do you like about conversations with close friends?

A1: I like the feeling of connecting with someone I'm comfortable with.

Q2: What do you like about connecting with someone you're comfortable with?

A2: I like knowing I can be myself and they won't reject me.

Q3: What do you like about knowing you can be yourself and they won't reject you?

A3: I like that I can be more fully seen than normal and still be accepted.

Q4: What do you like about being more fully seen than normal and still being accepted?

A4: I feel like the deeper parts of me are worth knowing and likeable.

Q5: What do you like about the deeper parts of you being worth knowing and likeable?

A5: I feel like I'm not a worthless waste of space and time.

Q6: What do you like about not being a worthless waste of space and time?

A6: I feel like my life is worth living.

Q7: What do you like about your life being worth living?

A7: Well that's kind of obvious right? I like having a reason to keep living.

All this at the bottom of simple conversations with my close friends. I even did this with other types of conversations and arrived at very similar depths.

The Gospel radically flips conversations upside down

If Earth 1.0 conversations are driven by a desire to justify our worth, what happens when we're fully known and fully loved by the Inventor of Friendship?

I think our first instinct when asking how the Gospel changes conversations is to say that we'll incorporate God in our conversations, namely talking about his love and hope and sovereignty.

While I'm sure we could all use more of that in our conversations, I think there's also a way the light-hearted joking around and surface level conversations can also be turned upside down and still be fun.

1. The Gospel changes the goal of the conversation, even if the words remain largely the same.

Our Earth 1.0 quest is, "How can I show this person I'm interesting and worth knowing?"

But the Earth 2.0 quest becomes...

How can I see and enjoy God by the way this person reflects Him?


How can I help this person enjoy God's reflection in me?

Those are radically different objectives, but it may not involve any direct mention of God at all. And yet that's still God-honoring.

It's less about injecting every conversation with direct references to God (though that is good too). It's more about seeking to uncover how the person's personality, feelings, hopes, concerns–how all these things reflect God.

Earth 2.0 conversations don't just see God in the circumstances or interests of the other person, but also see God in the self of the other person.

The more we do that, the easier it will be to love them. That IS loving them.

2. Slow to speak and quick to listen is not about preventing foolishness but rather encouraging love: seeking to understand and validate the person before adding anything.

Once I discovered this understanding of conversations, I realized a large percentage of the new testament commands are centered around it: speak truth to one another, bear with one another, don't be envious or malicious, be slow to speak and quick to listen.

It's all about love. We follow these commands to free us up to enjoy God in each other. We love each other because the image of God is in them and we love God because he first loved us.

The goal of the cross and the goal of our conversations are one and the same

The hope of Earth 2.0 and a direct result of Jesus purchasing that future for us is we can now have an intimate relationship with the Father of Love.

We were fully seen but not fully loved. The cross enables both.

The Word sacrificed himself so we could once again know the loving, accepting Word of God in all his joy-giving glory.

That same sacrifice enables us to show the same love to everyone we interact with. We can see others and accept them because God sees all of who we are and sees his perfect beauty in a unique way in us.

Our shortcomings are no longer offensive and infuriating to God but are soundless cries saying we need his heart-healing love to bear with us and change us.

When we realize this is how he sees us then we can turn around and do the same for others, showing interest in their words, their stories, their hopes, their fears. All the while, seeing the beauty of God's character trying to shine through.

So next time you find yourself in a conversation, ask yourself these questions:

How can I see and enjoy God by the way this person reflects Him?


How can I help this person enjoy God's reflection in me?

This is how we'll be talking for the rest of eternity. Let's start now!