Daily Devotion

Finding common ground (3)

October 4, 2023

“I…tried to experience things from their point of view.” 1Co 9:22 MSG

 

To establish common ground, you must be adaptable. Thomas Aquinas said, “To convert somebody, go and take them by the hand and guide them.” You must be willing to move from where you are to where they are; to adapt and try to see things from their point of view. Anytime you’re aware of distance between you and the person you’re trying to reach, it’s good to search for something in your own background and experience that relates to theirs. Don’t start the process by telling them about yourself. Begin by moving to where they are and trying to see things from their perspective. Adapt to them—don’t think they should adapt to you. Instead of telling people how you feel, find out how they feel. Instead of telling them what you see, discover how they see things. Instead of trying to tell them what you want, discover what they want. Abraham Lincoln said, “When I am getting ready to reason with a man, I spend one-third of my time thinking about myself and what I am going to say and two-thirds about him and what he is going to say.” The truth is, you can’t take someone on a journey unless you’re willing to start where they are. Only then can you truly connect and lead them to where you want to take them. You can know a lot about a person and still not understand them. More information isn’t always the answer. The Bible says, “Deep calls to deep” (Ps 42:7 NIV), and to really understand people, you must move beyond head knowledge and learn to speak the language of the heart.