Jonathan's Perspective  

Jan 22

'You can Break Down the Walls of Hostility'

We are experiencing a time of hostility in our culture. Groups are being pitted against one another. Accusations fly about. People are maligned and slandered. We see it in politics, in the news, in social media, at school, and at work. If we are not careful, we can be like the fable of the frog in the kettle who is slowly boiled when he doesn’t realize the temperature is rising. We feel the temperature increasing, but we aren’t subject to it – our lives and our witness don’t have to be boiled. Here are three things that can help us break down the dividing walls which have been erected around us:

First, extend good faith to the one who is set in opposition to you. Just like you think you understand the problem, so do they. Just like you think your solution is best, so do they. Everyone is doing their best and want what they perceive as good. 

Second, listen to the other person. You just might learn something. Everyone has only partial information and exposure to different ideas. Expect the other person to have good information and thoughts that you can learn from and make better decisions.

Finally, treat the other person with care. I was complaining to my advisor in college about a relationship that I found frustrating. He said to me, ‘Remember that people are fragile.’ That has stuck with me. I know that I am fragile. I get hurt, annoyed, frustrated, angry, and bitter. Those are heavy burdens that can crush us. We do not want that in our lives and relationships.

Our disagreements are only part of our relationships. They are also temporary. What people will remember when it is all over is how you treated them – if you trusted them, listened to them and valued their thoughts, and if you treated them kindly. The body of Christ is better than what the world is offering. Jump out of the pot of churning hostility and into the grace of God.

Phil 2:1-3 ‘Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.’

Blessings,

Jonathan

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