“I hear what you are saying. I think I understand your intent. Can I ask you to walk with me for a bit? I need to for you to hear what your actions are saying.”
It was a tough conversation. Even as we walked and talked, I was not sure that I was passing a message on that was being heard. The other was so certain that his words were enough. He was confident that I would understand and accept. His confusion began when I pushed back. It did not seem possible. It surely was not reasonable.
The story is old, even in my life. Repeating cycles, words saying one thing, actions another, have haunted every generation. I can see unintentional gaps that come from busyness. These gaps are often remedied with awareness, addressed with a sense of apology and work. Others gaps emerge through manipulation. Both parties often see them for what they are and respond accordingly. The worst kind of gap is one that occurs through blindness caused by ignorance. In this situation awareness is never enough. Education, trust, and change all come into the equation.
“Can you see the story through my eyes? Are you able and willing to wear my shoes?”
As we talked and walked, initially I found myself trying to paint a picture. As time passed, I realized the other could see but he could not understand it in anyway other than his own. His bias shaped his sight. His understanding determined his analysis.
“What would you do in this situation? How long would you wait for the trust to be seen in action?”
Our steps continued. I realized time and silence were allies. As our conversation drifted to matters spiritual, we talked about our different perspectives.
“Why do you trust your God?”
“‘Here’s why: he spoke and there it was, in place the moment he said so.’ (Psalm 33.9) In his actions I see creativity, I feel compassion, I experience mercy. I believe because his actions match his words.”
I hope the same can be said of me today.