One of the most powerful feelings I have ever had was the time that I landed in Germany and realized that I had no idea what the signs said. It was remarkably uncomfortable. I had no idea what he ads were saying, I had no idea what the people around me were saying, I could not understand a thing. I felt very lost and very confused and very much alone (which is weird because I was traveling with a group of six others).
I felt these things because I knew I had no hope of being understood.
I have found that as a Christ follower who intentionally seeks to introduce others to Jesus I unwittingly speak German to them.
In my previous post I talked about respect. Well, if I respect someone then I can not caricature them. I need to honestly and authentically understand what they believe. This means that I must listen. Not only that it means that I must hear them.
This is hard.
It’s hard because the universe revolves around me and to really listen means that I need to set myself aside.
When you engage in conversation with someone about belief systems it is incumbent on you to be able to communicate back to this person their belief system in such a way they say, “Yes, that’s what I believe”.
Have you seen the movie White Men Can’t Jump? There’s a great scene where Woody and Wesley are listening to Jimi Hendrix and Wesley challenges him and says, “You can’t hear Jimi”. This is the point.
Can you “hear” another? If not then you are not really listening and you don’t really respect them and you will never understand what they believe.
I love the fact that Jesus took time to hear people and listen. John 8 is an incredible story where Jesus hears and understands and then responds in a way that changes lives.