I recently met with a friend for lunch. We’ve known each other since college and even though we don’t see each other much, I’d like to think we have the kind of friendship that allows us to pick up where we left off, talking and laughing and sharing like we see each other daily. Perhaps the reason this is possible is because we care about each other. I ask her about her things and she asks me about mine. We listen, console, joke; it’s a good friendship.
Here’s an important thing to note: we disagree on a number of topics. I’m very traditional and she’s very liberal. We’ve decided not to die on that hill. I inform her of my faith and it’s her choice whether or not to accept it. She accepts me though so perhaps by my example she may inspired to more, but that’s not my point here. We disagree, yes, but we listen earnestly in order to understand one another.
I am completely against the new so-called vaccine. I have followed the science (we’re a medical family) and have found too many holes. We have religious and medical reasons as well to not partake. Also, in our experience, we have seen more reactions than good. We’ve seen the effects of the illness too; I assure you; I know it’s real. Our experience, however, leads us to choose against it. My friend, on the other hand, has had a different experience. More people she’s known have suffered from the illness and she knows no one with ill effects of the shot.
In discussing these things, two things happen. We learned more about each other’s reasons for our choices based on our experiences. Also, we made sure each was heard. That sounds like the same thing; in fact, they are mutual. As a speaker, one needs to express and be heard. As a listener, one needs to listen, consider their views, and learn. Don't be afraid to hear them out. If we keep Christ in our hearts, we will understand more and not sway from His truth. Neither of us changed our minds, but it was still a lovely conversation if only because we understood one another. We do have a common ground against any ‘forced choices.’ Yes, that’s an oxymoron.
What I’m getting here is not so much my personal stance, but our method of conversation. If we yell at the top of our lungs our thoughts and opinions, we could be absolutely right, but in the end not heard. Paul says in 1 Corinthians chapter 13 that we need love. “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” Jesus is never wrong and even He listens to His friends. He’s patient, and we should be also.
Let’s try to stop being triggered so easily and listen to others. If they will not listen to you, brush the dust from your sandals and move on (Matthew 10:14). If it’s someone you’re going to keep seeing (family, neighbor, etc.), maybe it’s best to suggest you not discuss that matter or ask for that person to listen patiently. These past couple years have torn families and friends and neighbors apart. A house divided cannot stand (Matthew 12:25). Let’s move forward with love, keeping Christ at our center.