Finding Common Ground

A comment from my wise wife brings today’s word-of-the-week…


“The way you share your story creates common ground.”

Becky consistently guides me back to the central importance of relationships. She says my story removes barriers because it includes elements with which everyone can identify.

Someone asked me recently how I can work with the men at Harvest Farm when I don’t have any experience with addiction, homelessness, violence, or jail. My answer is Becky’s wisdom: I take time to form relationships.I go to their place and spend time with them and get to know them. I focus on what unites us instead of what makes us different. I don’t offer easy answers to hard questions.

It’s not magic. Like Becky said, it’s all about finding common ground.

We shy away from speaking up for communities of which we’re not members. We wonder if our sincerity will be questioned, if we’ll use the wrong words, if we’ll offend someone, if perhaps things would be better if we remained silent.

The truth is, your sincerity WILL be questioned, you WILL make mistakes, and if you’re committed those aren’t reasons to stay on the sidelines. But to increase your effectiveness, you need to engage.

Form relationships. Step beyond your own familiar comfort zone. Go to their place. Get to know them. Learn their stories. Know in advance it’ll be scary and rewarding.

Show that you’re willing to risk of taking the time and doing the hard work to find common ground.

Kind of like Jesus did.

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