Connecting Point: August 14, 2022

“In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.”

This line from Hebrews today reminds us that we will never come close to the pain and suffering Christ endured for love. He took every sin, injustice or violence we have ever committed and nailed it to the cross…including all insurrections of His enemies. Yet rather than asking us to walk through fire for Him, he merely asks us to share the fire of love.

Our world of 2022 is so very polarized. Our culture has grown a dark beast, feeding greedily on angry opposition. Guns are used to settle arguments in a complete disregard for human life. Our words and thoughts can also be used as weapons when we are angry or don’t agree on hot topics political, cultural or even spiritual.

Jesus set the bar for our interactions. He was all about building relationships. He did not discriminate. People were always more important than the issues.

In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Dr. Steven R. Covey discusses the importance of empathic listening in building and maintaining relationships.

When we seek to deeply listen and understand another’s position or viewpoint and validate their perspective (even when we strongly disagree) we focus our energy on acknowledging their value as a human being first and foremost. Any issue of conflict or disagreement we have with them remains an issue rather than a reflection of the human person or relationship.

“Next to physical survival, the greatest need of a human being is psychological survival- to be understood, to be affirmed, to be validated, to be appreciated.” (Steven R. Covey)

When we take the time even in the heat of conflict and disagreement, to stop and listen deeply to the views of the other person, we affirm and validate that person as an individual. Covey summarizes “the single most important principle of interpersonal relations” in this directive: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

Ultimately, we may need to agree to disagree with one another on the issues, but may we always affirm one another as God’s creations and may we not “grow weary and lose heart” in the name of the fire of His love.

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Connecting Point: August 21, 2022