Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance… — Proverbs 1:5
Have you looked around recently and wondered how the world became so divided? If so, you’re not alone. Discord is an epidemic, and we’ve all experienced its side effects — almost to the point where we wonder if the problem is incurable.
As Christians, our job is not to make duplicates of ourselves; it’s to make disciples of Jesus. What follows are some steps we can take toward unifying the church, one conversation at a time.
Step #1: Listen to Others
- Proverbs 1:5
- Proverbs 11:12
When I was growing up, our dining room was only used for two purposes: for big family meals (celebrations like Thanksgiving or Christmas), and for fights. I know that sounds strange, but when my sister and I started arguing, or my cousins and I got in a heated debate, my mom would call us into the dining room and make us sit down at that wooden table for what she would call a “family discussion.”
Conversations like this can be uncomfortable, but they are necessary. Almost every time we sat down for a family discussion, we were forced to hear out the other side. New understanding was almost always the outcome. My mom understood that something amazing happens when you sit down and listen to each other.
- When you take the time to hear someone else’s perspective, it allows you to empathize with their emotions.
Next time you find yourself in a disagreement, resist the urge to flee the scene. Instead, take a beat and listen to the other person. Chances are, you may learn something new and important. You may even change your mind. Listening is an act of respect as well, so we owe it to each other to listen without interrupting.
Step #2: Resist the Urge to Become Defensive
- Mark 15:3-5
- James 1:19
Defending oneself is a natural urge. We all do it! But sometimes when we are in the middle of a tough conversation, we derail another person’s communication by jumping in to defend ourselves. Becoming too defensive is one quick way to cut short the path to learning — and it’s an especially useless response when we are not even being attacked.
Shared with permission from the YouVersion Reading Plan for Love Outside the Lines by Jimmy Rollins.
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As believers, we need to listen to others and not get defensive when there are differing points of view. Love listens and cares. Let’s pray for Jesus’ empathy to work through us as we listen to those around us. Come share your thoughts. We want to hear from you about building bridges. ~ Devotionals Daily