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Learn to respect differences

Learn to respect differences

13 June 2022
‘Be gentle, showing every consideration for all people.’

None of us escapes adversity; Jesus told His disciples, ‘In this world you will have trouble’ (John 16:33 NIV). But Verdell Davis writes, ‘Though we may endure the same disease, broken relationships, disability and failure, trying to compare sufferings is to ignore the unique dynamics of each individual life. To listen to stories in an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting where all are brought together by their common addiction is to find that each pain, each heartache, each loss, each interplay of relationships is highly charged with some twist no one else in the room has experienced in quite the same way. We must resist seeing our own sorrows as more devastating or less important than someone else’s. Mine are unique to me, and if I’m going to deal with them honestly and openly, I must accept that what’s going on, deserves my respect.’

Paul writes, ‘Be gentle, showing every consideration for all people.’ Respect the differences between yourself and others, even when you’ve been through a similar experience. Don’t barge in with a three-point sermon and a pre-planned speech. ‘The wise are known for their understanding, and pleasant words are persuasive’ (Proverbs 16:21 NLT). You can’t go wrong with somebody who’s hurting by simply showing up, giving them a hug, letting them know you care and that you’re praying for them. It may be clichéd, but it’s still true: people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care! You don’t demonstrate the love of God by being pushy, opinionated and acting like a know-it-all. You only do so by being ‘peace-loving, gentle, reasonable, [and] full of mercy’ (James 3:17 NASB).

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Copyright © Bob and Debby Gass. Used by permission.