Every Wednesday night, I’ve been hanging out with a group of guys to discuss what we have read in the Bible during the previous week. I love hearing their insights and watching the discussion take place around the Bible and what the Bible says, and what it doesn’t say.
We recently just finished reading through the letters of John and Jude. One of the parts of our discussion is around what will we actually apply in our lives. It’s easy to read the Bible and walk away with more knowledge but not use the truths we find in the Bible. So each week, we discuss what truth we’ll apply and how we’ll apply it that week.
A 19-year-old guy challenged me in a good way. His application was brought to light from the ending of 2nd and 3rd John, John ends those letters by saying that he has so many more issues to bring up, but he’ll do it ‘face to face’ rather than with ink and paper. This young man in my group, because of reading these passages, decided that he would start having conversations of substance with people face to face rather than online or via social media.
What would happen if we reserved certain parts of our conversations and opinions to the moments we were face to face with people?
As a pastor, people ask me over and over again what my stance is on ____? I know that as a pastor my opinion might carry more weight for some or others may not like the answer and misquote me. I’m learning to respond by saying “ ____ is a topic that should be discussed over a conversation or multiple conversations, not necessarily a stance to be taken.”
Instead of shooting off a strongly worded email to a co-worker, what would happen if you sat down face to face and had a conversation?
It’s easier to react and lash out on social media about a person, topic or stance someone else has taken. It may even make us feel better, but can the reader really hear and understand our emotions?
Having face to face conversations might be the mature thing to do rather than through social media. We may not get the instant justification we feel when we send a text or an email, but we’ll learn to fight for the relationship rather than be proven right. I think we can learn a lot from this 19-yr-old’s truth application. Don’t just send a text or an email unless it says “hey let’s talk… face to face” and have that conversation in person.
It still surprises me when people ask me my stance on something, and I respond with ‘let’s have a conversation’ that they rarely take me up on it.
I’m not sure what the implications of that reality are, but I’m wondering if it doesn’t say something about our culture. Have we lost the art of conversation? Have we learned to talk at each other rather than talk with each other?
Let’s revisit, relearn and rethink the idea or the art of a conversation. Let’s learn to listen. Let’s learn to say difficult things with respect. Let’s relearn the art of giving a compliment.
Photo by @rutch_johnson