However might or not it’s that conversations marked with discomfort and battle supply the very best alternatives to characterize Christ?
John Hartley, a visitor speaker hosted by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and the chief director of Pathways for Mutual Respect, says Christians must be prepared to lean into these uncomfortable areas.
“Conflict itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Conflict is something that can help lead us towards something new. It can help us recognize ways we need to grow [and] help life to emerge. It’s kind of ironic thing.”
Hartley has a couple of suggestions for speaking to your coworkers, pals, and household about controversial subjects. “Step one is to ask actually good questions. The form of battle that occurs is probably not as troublesome as we would assume it could be.”
Strongly-held convictions have tales behind them. Sharing our tales in battle and listening to the tales of others can open Gospel conversations.
“We get to talk about our thoughts and feelings about things and maybe it’ll make its way back to that controversial issue where our opinions differ. But we’re meeting the person — the actual person — we’re not just meeting their differing opinion.”
Hartley offers an instance: For those who had been to stroll in on two pals arguing over a heated social matter, there are a couple of methods you could possibly strategy the state of affairs.
“If…I just come up and I just share my opinion, I’m probably going to amplify the conflict,” he says.
“But when I’m going into that state of affairs and I am seeing this political battle — who is aware of, over gender or sexuality or race or no matter it is likely to be — and I take the time to really ask questions that may assist me to know the particular person, I would find yourself speaking about that particular person’s childhood in a neighborhood that was underprivileged reasonably than speaking about, like, racial battle.
“Then there are all kinds of fruitful ways for me to talk about the kind of love and care that I found in Jesus amidst those types of things.”
Hartley says this mannequin actually follows the instance Jesus gave as He sought to vary folks’s hearts.
“I think one of the beautiful things about Jesus is He entered into spaces and He actually saw the reality of the people in that space, whether it’s the woman at the well or it’s the woman caught in adultery or it’s Nicodemus. He moves past the topic that they have on their minds to the matters of the heart that are actually moving within them.”
Pathways for Mutual Respect works with Christian and Muslim communities to construct bridges and begin productive conversations.
“We work trying to find ways that committed followers of Jesus can spend time with committed Muslims, and in the process, recognize what kinds of shared concerns they have for their city,” says Hartley.
“When we’ve worked on projects where we’re getting conservative evangelical pastors together with…conservative Muslim leaders, we find, ‘Oh, look, you’re concerned about bullying in school? I’m concerned about bullying in school. What does Islam teach about how we should handle that situation? What does Jesus say about how we should handle that situation?’ And now a new kind of conversation becomes possible.”
These conversations take humility and a willingness to pay attention first. Hartley suggests if you wish to be taught to characterize Christ in moments of battle and construct relationships, take a while to look at your personal coronary heart first.
“What’s actually transferring you when you concentrate on no matter that controversial matter is that you just’re form of involved about — one thing that’s taking place within the office that bothers you and you’re feeling like your religion leads you to need to take a stand? What’s it that is on the coronary heart degree driving you in that? Possibly that may present hints at the way you may hunt down an understanding of the opposite particular person’s coronary heart.
“I think that place of heart is where Jesus most wants to work.”
Header picture courtesy of Pathways for Mutual Respect.