Got Your Ears On?

“But you didn’t even let me finish what I was going to say.”

That comment has stuck with me for the last 12 hours. She was right. It’s a lesson we all near to hear. Especially now.

My daughter Riley had just asked me, “Can we stop at the …” “No!” I quickly replied without hearing her entire message. I didn’t need to hear it. I was right. She was wrong. It didn’t matter what she said. It was late. We needed to get home. I had my reasons. We all do.

But when Riley looked at me and said, “You didn’t even let me finish.” I realized I had missed the point. This conversation wasn’t about someone being right or wrong, it was about someone being heard. Riley simply wanted me to listen. In my rush to judgement, I stole her need for a voice from her.

As I watch what’s going on in our country, I can’t help but think how right Riley is. In our rush to judgement, our desire to be right, the ease at which we are offended and our deepest desire to matter we’ve gone down a path that’s too quickly traveled. This path is full of people who are in a race that has no finish line. There is no end to our current direction. I offend you. You offend me. I tell you I’m right. You tell me I’m wrong. You hate me. I hate you. We don’t have to look far to see this played out. It’s not just on the nightly news, in big cities or on the political spectrum. It happens on a daily basis inside our neighborhoods, our offices, our houses. It happens sitting on a picnic table bench with a beautiful 8 year old girl who is just trying to find her place and value in this world.

Sometimes the goal isn’t to be right. Sometimes the only way to be right is to humble ourselves and truly listen to what others are saying. We may disagree. We may have a different perspective. We may never see eye to eye on everything. But we can agree on one thing: We are all in this together.

Life isn’t about winning everything. It’s not about being louder. It’s not proving a point. It’s not about getting our own way all the time. It’s not even about always being right. It’s about living and loving each other in a community.

We can try other ways. We can build walls. We can make laws. We can vote for one party or the other. We can only live with people just like us. We can lock our doors at night and secretly hope we don’t run into “those people.” But if we choose this path, we all lose. We lose out on experiencing the hope and joy of the gifts and talents that God has given us in diversity.

There is no easy path to true community. It takes patience. It takes tough conversations. It takes humbling ourselves. It takes putting the other person first. It takes being willing to choose love over being right. It takes being able to listen…truly listen.

But in the end it starts with us. It starts with you and it starts with me and it can start today. The bible says, “Choose today who you will serve.” The question is, what’s it going to be?

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