Empathetically disagree without losing the argument

See each other's viewWe all have different worldviews — different understandings and interpretations of what’s happening. We view each other through the lens of our own experiences and lessons learned (rightly or wrongly) about relationships, God, people, motives, etc. 

The best way to win an argument that’s truly worth winning (it’s worth it because it will improve something other than our personal feelings or our sense of pride or our chances for victory) is by entering into the other person’s worldview. It’s called empathy.

To be empathetic, first we have to get in touch with our own hearts, where we truly care about our beloved, and then we reach out from there to our beloved’s heart.

To change an error in our beloved’s worldview, we cannot attack it as wrong. Instead, we need to ask questions to gain an understanding of why our sweetheart believes it’s a correct view.

We want our sweetheart to conclude, “Oh, I get it now! You’re right!” Right? To reach that point, an empathetic approach helps our sweetheart feel valued, safe, and understood, and this is what opens the door to new understandings. And guess what! We will gain new understandings, too.

This is what Jesus did when he became human. He was able to affect the worldviews of many of his listeners, because he knew what they were thinking and he understood why they thought it was valuable to protect their viewpoints. And then, being very empathetic, he took their sins upon himself so that their minds might become open to the kingdom of God.

In a love relationship, it’s not about winning an argument. It’s about caring. It’s about bringing the kingdom of God into every situation.

Reflection Questions:

  1. Thinking of a recent conflict, how is my worldview different than my beloved’s?
  2. What wrong understanding about me does my beloved have? Why does he/she believe it’s valuable to think this way?

Strengthen your relationship:
Name one thing that you see differently. Without trying to change each other’s minds about it (you can develop that conversation later), take turns explaining why you believe what you believe about it. While it’s your sweetheart’s turn, listen, ask questions for greater understanding, but do not advance your own point of view (not yet). Then pray together, asking the Holy Spirit, who knows all truth, to lead you to a truer understanding of the issues. If the disagreement runs deep, stop after the prayer and agree to spend time thinking about what the other said and why. 

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
© 2016 by Terry Modica of Good News Ministries

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