Thursday, February 24, 2011

Let's talk it out:

I recently read this story that’s attributed to Reagan; it’s about having good intentions:
"There's a story about a young fellow riding a motorcycle. He had good intentions too. The wind was kind of chilly and coming through the buttonholes on his jacket, and so he got this idea. He stopped and put his jacket on backward and that eliminated the chill factor through the buttonholes, but it kind of restricted his arm movement. And down the road, his motorcycle hit a patch of ice. He skidded into a tree. When the police got there, a crowd had gathered. And they elbowed their way through and they said, 'What happened?' And one of them said, 'Well, we don't know. When we got here he seemed to be all right, but by the time we got his head turned around straight, he was dead.'

That story reminds me of the old joke about the two doctors taking comfort in the success of a surgery, though the procedure ended the patient’s life. Sometimes, when we see another person we think we have them figured out, and, we think we can fix them...

I learned a valuable lesson this week about the dangers of stereotyping. I learned that perceptions which feel “so accurate” can be wrong, even my own... I learned this week that I had someone all wrong, my way of seeing this person was skewed. Though I didn’t jump to conclusions, or pass judgments, I was nevertheless mistaken.

After a wonderful conversation of give-and-take and genuine dialogue, I came away with a renewed-deeper-respect, and more importantly, a more accurate understanding of this person. I’m thankful I didn’t let my fear of offending, interfere with a relationship building opportunity.

If we rarely take the much needed step of asking another person for clarification, we could draw the wrong conclusions without having all the facts. Sadly, our relationships suffer.

I understand the fear that paralyzes us though. If I open my mouth and I’m wrong, then what? But, ask which is worse to you: holding on to a mistaken opinion, or risking the embarrassment by asking for clarification? One shows my self-protection means much more to me than maybe it should; the other shows respect for the other person.

Jesus sagely said: Get the log out... And Paul said: Speak the truth in love. May I grow into the type of person who does both, well.

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