As I reflect on conversations, at work, out socially, and even in a taxi as I chat to a stranger along the way, I find myself needed to put the words in context. Where is the person coming from? Where are they going? What is their agenda in this moment? At times, I know a few facts. Even if I know the person well, most of the answers to the questions asked and implied are simply speculative musings. I have no assurances that my answers are the facts. I have no accurate foundation on which I can trust the preciseness of my conclusion. I have no real idea of I am even close to the truth. In many ways, I have simply imposed my agenda, perceptions, and biases.
It is a dangerous practice, especially if I move into action. As I read someone else following the same path, uttering the words, “and here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are trying your best to blame us for the death of this man,” (Acts 5.28) I know that he only got the accusation half right! Yes, the first part was correct. Yet, the second accusation was very wrong! Their intent was very different. They were not focused on blame. They were all about good news.
As I look at my steps, I can see that there is a reasonable chance that I am consistently falling into the same trap! With today's sunrise, I can break out of a predictable pattern and start anew. There are principles that I can use that will help.
As I frame the conversations in my life, I can ask when it is not clear. I can assume the positive if in doubt. I can respond with kindness and love, pulling the other towards the God of the same. This is not the same as being na?ve, ignorant, or innocently vulnerable. It is about taking a high road, nurturing the positive that can be found in every individual, and holding others compassionately accountable. This is an agenda worthy of the gods.
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