We have three children. During the school year, they would come home and tell us about their day. Some days were especially hard because one of them would feel misunderstood, “picked on,” or judged by a teacher or a friend.
I realized after listening to them and hearing their heart, whether or not they really were picked on or judged or misunderstood that day didn’t matter as much as the fact that those feelings were their perception of what happened.
It was my job, as their mom, to help them feel heard, understood and supported, because that was how they felt. Then, after they felt heard, I could gently talk about ways to deal with those feelings and future incidents: assuming the best, not the worst; reaching out and talking with the teacher or friend to find out what they really meant, or sometimes just choosing to let it go.
What if the next time we’re in a conversation with someone, we first take the time to find out what his/her perception is of the situation instead of thinking about our response or how to defend ourselves?
In my opinion, until a person feels heard, according to his/her perception, any other viewpoint or perspective won’t be heard.
Maybe, instead of having our first agenda be one of “winning,” what if it was to go into situations covered in prayer, willing to listen, and then asking the Holy Spirit to help guide our words?
Never when I’ve used this method to handle situations where I didn’t know what to say has God disappointed me or left me on my own. He always provides the right words, the right attitude, and the right message to be shared. It may not be the message I thought needed to be said; but it’s always the message that needed to be heard at that time.
Ultimately, our job isn’t to convince others they need a relationship with Jesus. Our job is just to let them know how much God wants a relationship with them.
I wonder if taking the time to discover another’s perception about a situation would help open up the conversation to introduce others to Christ? What do you think?
© Cheri Swalwell 2019