This is not a competition. You don’t have to convert people to your opinion and the one with the greatest number of converts doesn’t win. If you cannot disagree with someone and still keep a good relationship with each other, then how is that relationship like Jesus? Jesus had relationships with all kinds of people who disagreed with him, lived counter to his teachings, and didn’t believe he was who he said he was. And yet, he was able to relate to a wide variety of people.
I was in a political conversation the other day. That is always dangerous! I did not agree with the perspective of the person speaking. I didn’t agree with the statistics cited, the political reasoning shared or the criticism of the party I tend to align with. It was one of those conversations where it was evident we were getting our news from different sources. But I listened. I wasn’t asked what I thought or what my opinion was. I just listened. When the diatribe was over I was grateful for the insight I gained. I left the conversation unconvinced of their political opinions but I learned a great deal about what was important to that person.
So what would you add to the listening guidelines?
How can you be better at listening?
Where are the places your listening goes off the rails?
Romans 14 is a great illustration of learning to listen. It is an entire chapter of disagreements between people who believe.
Do you know how the chapter begins, the first words out of Paul’s pen?
Romans 14:1 (NRSV) Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions.
See you Sunday!
Pastor Tom Harding