Good Morning Everyone,
Our theme for this month: “Changing the tone of the conversation”
Our Bible verse for today: “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, listening closely to wisdom and directing your heart to understanding …” Proverbs 2:1-2 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Seek to understand”
The other day I was contacted by a Christian leader who had just finished reading my new book “Getting Along without Going Along: Biblical Sexual Ethics in an Age of Controversy and Conflict”. He wanted to obtain additional copies of it to give to others. (Available at http://www.JimMersereauBooks.com)
He told me he appreciated that the book provided clear, accurate, and easy-to-read information about the full range of sexual ethics from a Biblical perspective. He felt that this is a resource the average Christian in the pew needs to have. He also appreciated the fact that I took the time to research and explain what those on the other side believe, and how they feel. He said that too often Christians have little understanding of these issues from the perspective of the people on the other side.
He’s right. How many of us have sat and listened to someone explain what life is like as a gay man or woman? I’ve had many such conversations and I have to tell you that most gay men and women are not very different from you and me. It’s true that they are living in sin in an unbiblical lifestyle, but most of them are as nice as you and me. They have jobs which they are good at. They have homes with a white picket fence, a puppy in the yard, and a car in the driveway that needs its oil changed. They have hopes and dreams for the future, and they have all the fears, concerns, and disappointments in life that you and I have to contend with.
I’m not making excuses for them. And I’m not putting lipstick on a pig. Homosexuality is a sin, and Satan is using the Gay and Lesbian Agenda to do tremendous damage in our society. But the people caught-up in it are people. They are people trapped in a lifestyle they shouldn’t be in, much as the unrepentant alcoholic is, and like the unrepentant glutton is, and like the man viewing pornography every night, and the woman who is a terrible gossiper. They are people living lives like yours and mine – their sin is just a little different than yours and mine.
But is that how we Christians typically think of gays and lesbians in general? I’m not talking about specific gays and lesbians that we know or are related to. I’m talking about “them” in general, “those people”. We’re often guilty of the “confirmation bias” I wrote about yesterday and therefore we often come to the conversation with predetermined opinions and attitudes, but with little appreciation for the other person’s perspective.
In Proverbs 2:1-2 Solomon is calling us to have hearts that seek to understand. First and foremost (and his primary point) is that we are to have hearts that seek to understand God. But also, we need to have a heart that is inclined to seek to understand others too.
Before we can change the tone of the conversation, we have to be willing to listen to the other person and attempt to understand their perspective.
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