We all have people in our lives who we just can’t understand how they believe what they do. Forget the news, just scrolling through my Facebook feed this week confirmed that much for me.
And while our two candidates gave victory and concession speeches, both calling for unity and offering hope for America, we know there are cracks in our foundation that speeches just won’t fix.
So what do we do about the many people in our lives that we just don’t understand? Those who voted differently from us, who we just can’t see how they can believe the things that they believe?
We listen to them. Because to be a friend, to love them, that’s all we really need to do.
I don’t mean listening like we usually listen. Because, let’s admit it — when others talk, we don’t listen with the intent to understand. We listen with the intent to reply based on our own worldview.
That’s not how to listen. Not if we seek understanding.
Listening requires us to ask questions, really good questions, to drill down and get to the core of what someone believes and why they believe it. The quieter we become, the more we can hear.
When we truly listen, we will begin to understand, because listening does lead to understanding.
So start there.
Listen to others. You’ve been in their shoes (maybe 4 years ago). Ask good questions. Ask even better follow-up questions. Seek to understand and not to reply. And love those you disagree with.
Even, no, especially when they believe something different than you believe in.
Because while listening is required for understanding, there is no prerequisite for loving someone.