Sometimes, our false perception of someone’s intention sidelines communication. We may have been “getting somewhere” with someone, but suddenly we feel stuck in a head-on collision, and we see one person’s reversal as the only way out of this mess. And so we keep our foot on the accelerator and spin our wheels with our game face on.
Sometimes, we hear attack when someone only intends dialogue. And so we get defensive and put our walls up.
Sometimes, we hear criticism when someone only intends to encourage helpful change. And so we stop listening and get even more stuck in our ways.
Sometimes, we hear anger when someone is being passionate. And so we get angry too, and maybe even get a little hurtful.
Sometimes, we do all the interpretation without engaging in actually asking what the other person means and why. And so we assume things. And you know what happens when you assume something? You make an “ass out of u and me.” (Hee hee….I just said ass. Sorry, that just makes me giggle!)
But guess what?
Sometimes, our faith is enriched when we engage with Christians who come from different denominations, countries, cultures, and perspectives on any of the myriad of areas where we differ. And so we need to be proactive about getting outside of our “tribe” and looking at the world through someone else’s eyes.
Sometimes, God uses the most unlikely person to speak to us (He’s even used a donkey! Numbers 22:28). And so we need to be always listening for His voice!
Sometimes, we are startled when a long-held belief comes under question. And so that is when we buckle down and study to see how it fits with the testimony of Scripture (Acts 17:11). And that is good!
Sometimes, we go out on a limb and open ourselves up. We are honest about who we are, where we come from, how we see the world. And in so doing, we make a deeper connection with another person and we are both changed in a meaningful way.
Sometimes, we need to abandon our deeply wired fight or flight reaction to conflict and reach out across the divide to make a friend. And so we begin to practice this, to retrain our mind to be peace-loving and gracious.
You know, maybe we shouldn’t just do this sometimes. Maybe we could do this all the time?
Maybe we’re not doing this at all. Maybe sometimes is a big improvement. We need to learn that it is always appropriate to treat other people better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3). Starting at sometimes is better than not at all. And so lets start!
I love you, Beautiful Kingdom Warriors!
Image: Ruth’s son Josiah on Cadillac Mountain, Mt. Desert Island, ME