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Empathy: Weep with those who weep

It was a tough day. I woke up at 5:30 in the morning (after going to sleep at 1 A.M.) and packed my bags before I left for the office. I was running late so didn’t have time to stop for my usual cup of coffee (which would have probably helped with my nodding off in traffic). After spending an hour in traffic I arrived at the office to find six voicemails, twenty unread emails, and a stack of unopened mail. I stumbled down to the break room and made the strongest cup of coffee I knew how. Four cups of coffee and nine hours later I was ready to leave the office and get some rest. I would have preferred to curl up in my backseat and sleep but the seven hour drive to the conference meant that I had to suck it up and drive. I fantasized about pulling over and sleeping but couldn’t bring myself to do it so I just glance down at the speedometer and yawned. OK, stop reading for a second. In the past minute did you just yawn? If my account of tiredness made you yawn then you probably have a natural inclination for something called empathy. NOTE: I got this idea from Daniel Pink in his book A Whole New Mind. He also tells a similar story about being tired to see if the reader yawns. So did you yawn? I didn’t. But I will also admit that empathy is not my strong suit. My wife on the other hand is very empathetic. Without telling her this was a test I...

How to Respectfully Disagree

I like to be right. So do you. I mean who really enjoys being wrong? In a world with so many of us believing we are right we are bound to have disagreements (this is especially true for people of faith). Imagine how many church splits could be avoided by simply learning how to respectfully disagree. And on a more personal level, how would learning how to respectfully disagree change your life? What if the next time you found yourself disagreeing with someone you were able to stick to your guns but also make the other person feel respected at the same time? In this article I will highlight three ways you can practice respectfully disagreeing with people. But before we do that I want to talk about why this social skill is important. If we don’t understand conflict and how to resolve it then we are a liability in our circle of influence instead of an asset. What I mean by this is that you can either be a peacemaker or someone who is constantly being offended and hurt by others. And I know it’s a cliché but it’s true – hurt people hurt people. If you want to be an asset to your spouse, family, friends, church and co-workers then I suggest practicing these three things: 1. Honor all people We know the Bible says to honor all people (1Peter 2:17) but how do we actually do this? Just like love, it’s easier to honor those who honor us. But God has called us to love and honor those who don’t deserve it. If you honor people...