Tuesday, April 30, 2013

More Wisdom: Am I thoughtful of where the other is coming from? (Part 4)

Being people who love peace means that I think about what I am aiming for in my relationships - no matter the nature of that relationship. So, in the previous post I suggested that the Book of James wants us simply to ask the question: Am I Aiming at Reconciliation?

To be people who love peace also requires us to be considerate.

An image of being considerate
James puts it like this: It (the wisdom from above) thinks of others (3:17). And so perhaps the way for me to get at that is to ask, "Am I thoughtful of where the other is coming from?"

So how do we be considerate? What does that look like in the heat of an argument or when dealing with someone who brings out the worst side of yourself?

To be considerate means trying to get at the heart of what another person feels. It means no one-up-man-ship. It often looks like silence, even when you are wanting to verbally pounce. It looks like a head slightly tilted with an ear cocked straining to listen.

Have you ever shared with someone about something really wonderful that happened to you in your day, and they respond with one better? Or you share something bad that happened, and he says, “Yeah, well that’s nothing, let me tell you what happened to me!” Or in an argument you hear your partner say, "I'm tired of picking up after you," and then you hear yourself respond by saying (screaming), "Yeah, well, you leave your stuff laying around, too!"

Being considerate is really about being serious to look at the matter from the other’s perspective, to genuinely try it on for yourself. Am I taking a moment to try and step into your shoes for a moment, to feel what you feel?

Do you remember the movie Jerry McGuire?  Kuba Gooding Jr’s character, a football player, would say to Tom Cruise, his agent, and more often to his wife, “You feel me Jerry?” Do you feel what someone else is feeling, or at least allowing enough space to really try?

Being considerate means getting inside the other person and simply asking, “Am I thoughtful of where the other person is coming from?”

That's a question only you can answer. And if the answer is, Yes, then not only will you be living into the teaching of James, you'll experience genuinely healthy relationships with the people who make you crazy.