New Post: Hard Conversations in Hard Times

These are some great communication strategies when you are dealing with a loved one, or even those here on the forum.

May we all remember to be gracious in our responses to others.

“…it is easy to compulsively share our beliefs and opinions without much regard for when and how we’re communicating. It has been important for me to be humble enough to recognize that I might not be the person God is prompting to engage at this very moment, with this specific person. A longtime friend, a trusted mentor, or a spouse might be better suited to have this discussion than I am. When discerning whether or not I ought to engage, I have found it helpful to ask myself: Do I have the time and energy to engage in this conversation with the care and curiosity it requires? Do I have an established relationship with this person? Are my heart and mind ready to have a productive and gracious conversation with this individual? Do I feel the spirit leading me to engage in this discussion?

4 Likes

This really spoke to me this morning as I look at my day and contemplate several of these conversations ahead of me. Good stuff, Morganna! I look forward to the day we can have one of the meetings you help plan and see one another face to face!

4 Likes

@HRankin, I really liked that quote where she wrote out the process of deciding if it was her place to engage.

I appreciate her examples of clarifying questions too!

One of the most impactful things was the quote from Timothy Keller, and it’s probably the most helpful explanation of speaking truth in love I’ve ever heard:
“Love without truth is sentimentality; it supports and affirms us but keeps us in denial about our flaws. Truth without love is harshness; it gives us information but in such a way that we cannot really hear it.”

2 Likes

I just read this article for the second time. The first time I read it I had a bit of a reaction and decided to back away and come back to it. Now on second reading I’m reacting to exactly the same points that twigged a response for me the first time. I really appreciate how difficult it is to write this kind of article. I’m about to try to write a blog on this myself. Advising on how to have hard conversations in hard times is daunting. It takes a lot of humility and I read that in this article.

So I’m going to be very honest about my own reactions. I suspect that you, Morganna, and I would have a hard conversation. What I’m hearing is that there is truth and then there are conspiracy theories. And you know the truth and your loved ones have yet to see it. It seems that is a bit too simplistic. I read that you really want your loved ones to come to see truth. And that you’re quite sure that you have the truth. And here in lies the challenge in having these hard conversations.That truth could be halfway in between or there could be truth on both sides. There can be error in all perspectives.

The hard part about having these hard conversations is that you can be so very sure you’re right that you’re convinced that the only way to come together is for the other to come over to your side. The challenge then is to listen, to understand the other, as you described so well. But then also not to judge their decisions and ideas as bad and needing to change their behaviour.

I am an intelligent educated health care professional. You might not agree with my perspective on the public health measures. I sense that I might not agree with what you believe is truth. How could you and I have a conversation, seeking to understand each other AND be OK with neither of us changing, and not judging the other’s decisions and ideas as bad?

Welcome to the forum!

I think this article also has a place in our regular conversation at BioLogos, and not only about public health measures. Things like, “can you be a Christian and believe in evolution” can also be applied to these points of conversation.

I think the thing here is not so much that you can’t be disappointed that they aren’t changing, but bear in mind that they are people, and people you love, at that. You don’t have to/aren’t giving up trying to persuade them, but seeking to understand where they are coming from can help them be willing to listen to you, also. You may very well think their ideas and decisions are bad. But we can still commit to approaching these conversations in humility.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

This is a place for gracious dialogue about science and faith. Please read our FAQ/Guidelines before posting.