And behind each shade of emotion, there is word that suggests a possible action to react to the person when they feel that way. Disappointed - Encourage. Betrayed => Affirm. Angry => Calm. Happy => Rejoice. We all can agree that taking these specific course of action for a particular emotion would probably be the most appropriate. Why? Because we have been through it before and we remember what we want to receive when we feel that way. We can relate to another person even though we don't live the person's life and the exact circumstance. Emotions connects our hearts to another - they are our bridge to another's heart. It's not the only one, but it's surely an irreplaceable one. And this is what paralleling does - through the use of 'speaking in parables' and 'symbolism', it transfers emotions more accurately than mere description of the emotion. "I'm so upset I want to faint" and "I'm as upset as you were when you broke up with your partner 5 years ago", which statement would help you understand more accurately what the person is trying to say? Naturally, the latter, if you were in the mentioned situation.
In other words, one of the benefits of paralleling is that communication is often understood faster and more accurately, assuming the provided parallel is appropriate and not too difficult to relate to.
#1 Outreach - This is natural. As Christians, one of the biggest obstacles in our outreach efforts is to let people understand how much God really loves them, what our faith and church is about, and how relevant it is to their own lives. And often, we aren't sure of how to tell them because... it's something they must experience for themselves right? Things like "how God speaks to us personally" or "the importance of a community of believers" or "how much God loves us" (which sometimes we ourselves need a parallel for us to grasp. Side Story: God gave me a personal one earlier this year. While looking at the sea He said to me "You think that my love for you is merely the waves that you see hitting the shore. But my love for you is like the ocean." Booms<3) There is no way for them to even remotely understand the things they need to want to get into the kingdom of God, since these things are found in the kingdom of God. BUT, we can parallel some of these things for them. "God speaks to me in the same way like... imagine watching a movie or reading a book, and suddenly something jumps out at you and starts saying something in your heart." "A community is crucial because... you know, like your family. They are committed to you by blood right? In church, it's not blood, but our faith that causes us to commit to one another. We will support one another and do life with one another too!" These parallels may not express the entire thing, but it gives a glimpse for non-Christians to understand, and it could be that crucial glimpse that keeps them open, exploring and interested in God. We really got to try. Even when we fail to explain through our parallels, these people may not understand our words, but they can surely understand our hearts and sincerity. And that is something that God can easily use to bring them into the kingdom anyway.
#3 Defense - As Christians, we often get persecuted/made fun of (with/without malicious intent). We can't retaliate in the same way they did, since Jesus won't. But neither is there a need to suffer in silence and think that it can't be helped. Earlier this year, Pope Francis mentioned that if someone insults his mother, that person can expect a punch. I loved his paralleling. A punch on someone is sin regardless, since we aren't called to inflict harm on our neighbor no matter what. But it's a statement easily understood by the whole world, Christian or not. It's not a threat, it's simply a statement of logic. "Don't piss me off, else you will receive a response." That response can be many things, even a supernatural "rebuke" by God; buying them presents when you go overseas since you're trying to love your enemies or whatever, but it simply tells the people who are making your life miserable that you're not a mere punching bag, but one who loves God passionately.
Often, once these people realize that they are being foolish, they may 1) stop what they are doing, 2) continue irregardless, perhaps due to habit or pride. Once they reach 2), victory is yours indeed. Just think about it: what do you do when you realize that you've been doing something stupid/pointless? You stop, right? But if you continue, what happens? You feel stupider and stupider and stupider and stupider ...... until you either grow insane or you stop just before. In the same way, each time these persecutors do something to you, they will feel stupider i.e. they are just insulting themselves while on your part honestly "not a single d**m is given". They are shooting their own foot. Of course, until they initially realize that they are being foolish, we can employ parallels to help them understand how we feel when they do such things to us. God will also vindicate us in the end, so hang on! ^^
Another possible way of defense is when people (Christian or not) accuse us of "not understanding". Again, they are right and wrong. We may not fully understand, but most likely we aren't clueless. I recall a really great manga (named Naruto) I've read a long time ago which to date still touches my heart. It is the story of Naruto and Sasuke, both who are orphaned at the start of the story. Circumstances put them together and their friendship started to develop genuinely, so full of friction as it is. Unfortunately, as the story progressed, Sasuke wanted to pursue revenge for his murdered family members and thus sought illegal means of attaining power for revenge. Naruto, his best friend, tried to stop him. Sasuke retorted saying that Naruto doesn't understand the pain of losing family members since he was born as an orphan, while Sasuke witnessed his whole clan's murder as a child. Naruto's response was tearjerking. He paralleled: "I don't know what what it's like to have a family, but when I look at Iruka-sensei (his teacher in school), I imagine "that's what having a father is like" and when I look at you, I imagine "this is what having a brother is like." And even Sasuke, on his verge of falling into depravity, couldn't stop from acknowledging that this guy really cares for him. When people say that we don't understand, thinking and speaking in parallels helps in 1) getting us to understand them better, 2) getting people to realize that we sort of understand. And this may be that last one thing that keeps them hanging on to God or life - the realization that someone understands, even if only in part. And more importantly, that someone WANTS to understand.
Be careful of over-complicating simple things. Sometimes, simple truths are better said as it is. I would usually only recommend using parallels in our conversation when you want to illustrate a point that is difficult to grasp (somewhat abstract) or intentionally expand on a particular situation/topic. Or when you just don't know how to say stuff in simple words. "I treasure you" is easier said in three words than "my feelings for you is the same way as how you feel for your PlayStation 4". But not all people will feel accustomed to overly mushy/straightforward words of love. So perhaps the humor effects in the latter will make this equally genuine expression less awkward and more easily accepted, so see what you want to say in your conversation haha.
1 Corinthians 9:19-23 "Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible....I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some...."
Colossians 1:24 Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regards to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of His body, which is the church.