In fact I’ve already discovered an interesting thing about this Super Bowl. If you were even remotely a Bronco, Payton Manning or anti-Sherman fan, it was the most boring Super Bowl ever. It was awful. Couldn’t wait for the commercials. If you were even remotely a Seahawk fan, it was the most fabulous Super Bowl ever! What a defensive display! Kind of depends on your perspective, doesn’t it?
In this, as in so many other matters, our perspective effects out opinions. That’s why the only way you can have a real discussion with someone is to set your own opinions aside for a moment and get in the other person’s shoes. Instead of jumping on the first opportunity to say what you think, try and figure out what they think. What are they really saying and why? You can always pick your opinions back up if someone really wants to know.
There are those waiting to listen, and those who can’t wait to talk. Those waiting to listen are those who feel they have something to learn from everybody. They value everybody, and for that reason, they value everybody’s opinion.
Everyone has a reason for pretty much everything they believe. Instead of bashing them for what you perceive to be the wrong belief, find out why they believe what they believe. In the process, you will undoubtedly learn something you didn’t know, and most likely find some point of agreement – some starting point for dialogue.
Those who are waiting to listen know that God and truth will get along just fine without them. They don’t need to defend what they know; they want to find out what they don’t know. They are curious … eager to learn. Even if it’s a point of view they disagree with, they want to find out more about it and why someone is taking it. In the process, they will probably find out we are not as different as we think.
When Peter writes, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect …” (1 Peter 3:15), he is talking about someone who is waiting to listen. They wouldn’t be asked about their own reason for believing if they hadn’t first been open to hearing the other person’s reason for believing what they believe. It’s human nature. The only way to really get a chance to talk is to wait and listen.
So go ahead, tell me how awful yesterday’s Super Bowl was; you probably don’t even want to know what I think.
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