How to have a Kingdom Conversation

16 01 2021

Let’s talk about how to have a conversation that Jesus would enjoy hearing.

I’ve written before about “the third way” of navigating these divisive times in American society — the way of the Kingdom of God. Every Christian has this life-giving option, but too many of us choose one of the world’s options, which leads to false hope.

Aimee and I chatted yesterday about how to have a “Kingdom conversation.” How do we talk to another person, no matter their political or lifestyle convictions, in a way that is true to the way of Jesus?

We often talk about how to start such a conversation, but the most important characteristic of a Kingdom conversation is how we want it to end. If both individuals or parts of a group discussion can agree to their concluding posture, a civil and informative interchange is possible.

Here is the ending I propose:  At the conclusion of our conversation, we will better understand one another’s views and reasoning behind them; we will appreciate our common ground while acknowledging areas on which we disagree. But we will not break fellowship over our differences. If we have spoken in anger or accusation, we will own it and apologize. As we go our way, we will commit to keeping a learning attitude and plan to talk again before long.

When we agree up front to have this destination in mind, the process of getting there can be much different than it would have been. Intuitively, we will adopt some Kingdom-like conversational skills, such as these.

1. Respect for the other person as one whom God loves. Rather than an enemy, he becomes a person with the right to hold convictions different than our own.

2. Listening for understanding without pre-judging, because when our thoughts are set in stone, we don’t truly hear the other person.

3. Acknowledge the other person may be applying a Kingdom truth differently. For example, the Kingdom value of “love” may be embraced by you both, but you hold different ways love should be applied in specific instances.

4. Seek not to convince but to communicate. It takes humility to express your views and allow the other person to differ.

By these and other practices, we can have the kind of courageous conversations which lead to understanding without divisiveness.

If such conversations were easy, they would not be so rare. But if these conversations were more common, we would not see fellowship broken as often.

Remember, we are in this together. We need each other, and really, we are for each other.

As a follow up: If there is someone you have sharply disagreed with, and your fellowship is strained or broken, prayerfully consider if God would have you forward this approach to them, and ask if they would be willing to give it a try with you.

P.S. You may want to look back at my post, “The Third Way.”  The point of it is this:
“We can easily forget we are called to a third way. To find it, we must take the hand of Jesus and follow Him as He weaves His way through the crowded streets of ideas where horns blare and mobs riot. The third way is to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt.6:33).



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