“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.]
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.