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Man And Woman Help Silhouette In Mountains“You are an idiot and your people are wrong.”

That was it.

I finally turned off the TV in disgust and got ready for bed. It was Tuesday night, the second day of protests and riots, and two ‘expert’ panelist were arguing over how to respond to tragedy of the Michael Brown shooting, protests and increasing tensions.

So, how should we respond? 

An officer was attacked, a teenager was shot, a family was mourning, a Grand Jury was decided, a community was burning and now expert panelist were screaming.

How should we respond to disagreements in our marriage, within our families, at work, with our neighbors politically, spiritually, and racially? Frequently we come to an issue with one very clear perspective, opinion and agenda in mind: ours. 

We approach the conversation with our armor on, swords drawn, and expectations set. Because we know what we know. We know who’s wrong.

We know the facts. Shut up, you’re wrong. I’m not finished. Let me continue. We know we’re right. We know what needs to happen next. We know….And you are an idiot and your people are wrong.

My friends, have you ever seen any debate, over any issue, during your entire life, settled with individuals yelling, arguing, finger-pointing, and fighting to make their point? [Tweet this.]

Me either.

No. Issues resolve and healing begins when we come down from our pulpit, take off our armor, step away from our ego, cross over the aisle, join their march, walk with them, see life from their perspective.

This isn’t just important for the protestors to step over and see the issues from the perspective of the police and judicial system, or for the police to see through the lens of the protestors, but for you and I to be bold, open, faithful and courageous enough to empathetically approach others from their perspective.

The way forward, then, is not to throw insults across the aisle politically, across the dining room table, or across some police line.

The way forward is to come from your position over to theirs. [Click to tweet.]

It’s to leave your ego and your ideas behind for a moment, step down from where you are, and meet others where they are. Come to understand their past experiences, their position, their hope, their struggle, and their opinion. Then, and really only then, can fists being unclenched, hearts be opened, a way forward discovered, and a new path charted.

I write this with the racial tensions of a country and the still-smoldering ashes from Ferguson in mind…but I am absolutely certain it has application today in your family, your business, and your life.

So keep your arms uncrossed, your fists unclenched, and your voices softened. Open up your minds, your heart and your world. The best is yet to come.

0 replies on “Lower Your Voice [Let’s Be Bold]”

I applaud you message as it is sorely needed.
My comment is along the same lines as Alicia’s and yes I hear 7 times 70 however how many years have we tried to “make things right” with the same result? A lot more than 7 times 70 in my mind, maybe I am too closed minded. Also I think it is a fact that a lot of the screaming is being done by outside adjators who are only here to cause trouble. I don’t think there is another side to there story they only have hate and violence in mind. See my other email I sent to you about this. It is a tragedy that this happened as one man lost his life and another’s is effectively runed at a very young age. Thanks for all you do!

John I love this message but my question is this….how do you approach a person that you have tried this…over and over but they still come at you with a “I am not wrong its all your fault..I know it all and the world should revolve around me… attitude”…

I give grace and have hope but times after I am worn thin…I wonder am I missing something?
would love to hear your thoughts. thanks

Alicia:

7 times 70 times.

In other words,keep trying again and again and again….

That said, we can’t make anyone do anything, or see anything, or understand anything that they refuse to do for themselves…Heck, I can’t get my kids to make their beds most mornings! … Sometimes it’s healthy and helpful to remember adults/individuals/communities must own their life, their decisions, their perspectives…we can’t do it for them.

But our calling as inspired leaders is to continually meet them where they are, listen to fully understand from their perspective, lovingly share ours, and then together take steps across the bridge to the possibility of our life…

Sounds a little Pollyanna…but we also, in the end, know it’s the only way forward. J

Thank you John. Your words are a great reminder.
Funny thing…I have been called Pollyanna before as if it were a bad thing…I claimed it as a beautiful thing.

I love your messages..so glad I found you….PS also meet your mom and dad at an event thru a UNDIVIED.
Wow..it was great talking to them. You have an amazing story.

Hi John! I appreciate your Monday morning emails. I am an elementary assistant principal across the state in Blue Springs. I read this blog the other day and I thought it spoke directly to your sentiments today…’seeing the other side of the moon’.
http://connectedprincipals.com/archives/10984
Have a great day and thanks for sharing each week!
Cassie

Cassie:

Really like #2…listen for the story behind the story….that’s where the real stuff is! Thanks for sharing…and thanks for living it! Keep making a difference in our state and beyond/ Stay on fire –

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Live Inspired Together is a community of friends changing the world together, starting with their own. In a world that often focuses on negativity, John O’Leary - Live Inspired shares the other side of the story through his member-supported channels (essays, Live Inspired Podcast, video, webcasts, social platforms) to connect our community and share inspiration and actions to live it. Support now.