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I recently read the article, Engagement Without Understanding Leads to Violence. The article’s main thrust seemed to be to listen to others different from us and step into their stories. By doing this, we will better understand and better sympathize with those different from us. I agree 100% with these thoughts. However, I’m wondering how we balance a verse like James 1:19, which calls us to listen, with a verse like, “Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them” (Hebrews 13:9).
I want to listen to those who have different viewpoints, but I also don’t want to fall into the trap of stepping so far into their shoes that I accept things to be true that aren’t true about God or the world. I tend to be a pretty critical person, and I don’t want this to stop me from being able to listen to those around me. But I also don’t want to lose my sense of critical thinking for the sake of listening, thus falling into false belief systems, however small that might be. How can I free myself up to listen and engage with those who are different from me in a loving and understanding way without slipping into laziness with my thinking? – Supporting Member
But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back? What he desires, that he does. For he will complete what he appoints for me, and many such things are in his mind (Job 23:13-14).
If a person is afraid of getting lost in another person’s story and/or being easily swayed by their story (their arguments), there are a few things to consider:
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).