Listening with Open Hearts

One of the hardest parts of dealing with pain and hurt is working towards reconciliation. Especially when both parties can’t see how they are both wrong, and right, in the disagreement.

When the arguments increase and the words begin to fly, without concern for emotions or feelings, it becomes incredibly difficult to build a bridge in the gap that is being formed.

People who have been hurt will take part in hurting others, that is not a new concept, yet many have not worked towards healing the pain.

As people continue to spew hateful rhetoric towards each other and demonstrations are occurring with violence, no matter how peaceful the groups claim to be, we sit at a point in time where text messaging and social media have created a barrier.

I sincerely believe that people have lost the ability to have healthy conversations, whether they agree or disagree, due to social media and smartphones. With all the convenience and connection we may receive, we are growing more and more apart.

So, when there is conflict, we flee. We choose to go back to the keyboard and emojis in order to defend our thinking. Unless, we have a large mob to join with us in order to make our voices heard, we will stay silent behind a screen.

So, what are we to do?

Perhaps, we need to set up more ways to have conversations? There could be a sincere dialogue that needs to take place in order to understand both sides.

Sidenote: There’s always more than one side, mainly because some people are riding the fence, but won’t admit it. Look for the person staying silent.

People are angry. From what I can gather, it seems like they both have reasons, some noble and some not. There are people who truly want to preserve something, but there are others who have experienced pain due to that “something”. Yet, there are people who want to perpetuate hate and rage, and also those who just want to be a part of something bigger than themselves, so they will rise to the rage.

Either way, these are people who deserve to be treated with compassion and empathy.

No matter what side you are on, we have to realize that both parties are dealing with a heart issue. Their hearts are closed. They will accept only those who believe what they believe. Again, social media has allowed for this.

When you have a system in place that allows you to choose your friends and what you will allow on your feed, it will inevitably create barriers and closed minds.

We need to get to a place of open hearts gathered together for understanding. It is not to end in agreement or change minds, but to increase dialogue and empathy.

Yes, there are the social warriors out there looking for something to brag about or celebrate because they put silly string on the car of a CEO whose cosmetics company tests on animals. There are also those individuals who hold so much hate in their heart, they have been hardened to caring for those who are different than them.

It’s the people in between those extremes we want around the table. How can we as the body of Christ be a catalyst for change? Open up the dialogue necessary to grow together.

Be honest. Be open.

It isn’t to say that we don’t want the extremists at the table, but in order to provide healthy dialogue in the beginning, we need to have people with open hearts and minds willing to set good standards for conversation and action. Then, when the extreme people come, they will be held to the standard or they can exit.

It’s about protecting the purpose.

We need to strive to build bridges. We need to be able to sit with people who think differently than us. The only way we can create change is by educating ourselves on both sides. It isn’t about changing our minds completely, but unifying us in our differences.

May we find a way to grow forward together. May we sit with each other in humility, recognizing we don’t always have the right answers. May we be willing to listen to different opinions and experience true connection as we aim for change.

Peace and blessings friends.

QUESTION: How do you see people rising to the occasion and sitting with people different 

 

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