It’s said there are two sides to every story.When it comes to points of conflict, it’s something I hear a lot. Like there are only two ways of seeing something. I think especially here in the States, where the political discourse boils down to red versus blue.
Honestly, I’m sick and tired of hearing both sides. I am tired of the kind of the binary thinking that ruts out a lazy and familiar line to walk. I am tired of people not striving to be empathetic to the nuances of another’s situation. Because there’s stuff we just don’t understand until we’ve been through it. There are ways of seeing the world that don’t occur to us. Our job in conversation isn’t always to understand. Instead, it’s to do the hard work of reaching across differences to just see the person across from us. To view them with their personhood in mind and not the boxes they’d tick when filling out a questionnaire.
I think we need to stop falling in love with our side of the story. Think about the last time you were hurt. When it came up in conversation, did you give thought to what the other person went through before telling it like you saw it? I think the idea of bearing with each other like Colossians 3:13 involves being difficult to offend. We get there by viewing things from another’s eyes and not taking stuff to heart. Just because something doesn’t come across the way we’re used to, doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Instead of looking at two sides of a conflict, why aren’t we changing our angle slightly to see it as two perspectives on the same story? How many times do we place ourselves in opposition of another when we’re just not very good at telling each other we’re on the same side? Why do we spend so much energy clinging to our correctness? We let ourselves be defined by our passion for being heard instead of our willingness to listen.
It’s all really sad. Even when we disagree, we don’t need to oppose each other as people. Let’s not be people who fall in love with our side of the story. Let us instead do the hard work of hearing each other well. Even the hard stuff. Sometimes we need to hear it. Especially if we’ve wounded someone. It’s not fun to hear when we’ve done that. We can never properly ask for forgiveness if we don’t hear someone out when they come to us. It can be really hard when we don’t feel that we’ve done anything wrong. But that pride has to fall. Don’t let your view of the story get in the way of something beautiful.