Friday, November 13, 2015


Professor Lee Ross has done a lot of work in conflict resolution, promoting dialog between various groups in places like Northern Ireland and in the Middle East with both Palestinians and Israelis.

“People on both sides are always interested in meeting with those from the other side,” he says. “But why do they want to meet? Because they want to explain to the other side how things really are, and they think that if they do that the other person will become easier to deal with in the future. If that doesn’t work then it just proves that those on the other side aren’t objective or reasonable. What I have never experienced in 40 years of doing this is people who say “I really want to meet with the other side because I think I have things wrong” or “I think I’m biased and I want to meet with the other side so they can set me straight.” I’ve never, ever had the experience of even a single individual tell me that.”

That’s the problem. No one is willing to admit the possibility that they are wrong about something. No one is willing to confess that they are capable of having anything new to learn from the other side.

It’s no different in our churches. As long as we refuse to admit that we have something to learn, we will never learn anything, and we’ll never be at peace with those whom we think have plenty to learn from us.

What we need to do is to recognize the authenticity of the other person. We need to admit that they are as sincere in their beliefs as we are in ours. We need to, honestly, love them as we love ourselves and consider them better than ourselves and worthy of love and respect, regardless of their viewpoints or doctrines.

If we emphasize what we have in common – which in the Church is our love for Jesus – rather than hammering on what separates us, we have a better chance of really learning something about one another. And who knows, we might possibly even experience a new insight for ourselves in the process.

What do you think?

NOTE: This post was inspired by a podcast at "You're Not So Smart". 
Listen to the original interview with Lee Ross here>


the alternative1 said...

Yes I think that is a good idea--Be always willing to learn something new.

Unknown said...

Thank you!!

Unknown said...

Thank you!!