First, I want to thank Joe Porter for his excellent communion thought this week at Whitewater Crossing and for inspiring me on Inspiration Monday. Secondly, if you’re new to the blog, welcome! This is our first official Inspiration Monday blog post and I know some of you are looking forward to Mondays the most so I’ll try not to disappoint.
Joe talked about how his 5-year-old son asks him questions that force him to look at things from a different perspective and that he intends to try to being looking at things from other people’s perspectives at first and ultimately trying to see things from God’s view in the New Year. This is a difficult task as evidenced by the number of married couples I see at my office.
Most of the time people come to see me for marriage related problems, it boils down to a couple of key reasons. Sex and money are the two most often fought over issues, but more generally the reason people fight is because they don’t know how to communicate. Building on that, its not only that they don’t know how to talk to one another in healthy ways, they also – and maybe more importantly – don’t know how to listen.
See, the number one thing I try to get people to do is to stop listening to how what the other person is saying affects them and to start hearing how the other person feels. Depersonalizing things and empathizing is so important for a healthy relationship. It applies to children, too. I spend a lot of time trying to get kids to understand that the rules that their parents make aren’t designed to hurt them but usually quite the opposite. And getting older teenagers to start thinking about how their parents feel (anxious about them growing up, usually) helps them to stop reacting quite as strongly.
I think God designed relationships on earth in many ways to help us understand Him better. The obvious parallel is parenting. God is our Father; He created certain rules and guidelines to help us and keep us from hurting. And if we can empathize with Him – which really means understanding his perspective with such depth that we feel His point of view – then we will be more motivated to follow His lead and submit to His will.
So, in 2011, we all need to stop and listen. We need to learn to empathize with one another on a deeper emotional level, which will help us stop feeling hurt and enable us to help others by either offering comfort or setting boundaries or both. And ultimately we need to focus on our Father’s perspective for it His will and His plan for us that counts.
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