Seek first to understand before being understood

So this morning I happened across something that really went to the core of my heart and touched on an issue that I’m certain many of us have either experienced in the past, are experiencing now and may even possibly experience in the future – broken relationships.

Broken relationships can come in many and any different forms. There can be broken family relationships, friendships, social groups, partnerships (of many forms) and so the list goes on…

Well what I watched this morning showed me a person who had invested in trying to put right what was something that had been wrong for him for a number of decades and also gave a glimmer into how intentional this individual had been about learning from his life’s journey. It wasn’t lost on me that my reading of 1 John chapters 1-4 came back to me as I watched as I drew some parallels to this experience.

If we seek to understand first, we are then able to respond from an informed position and not give in to assumption and misunderstanding.

I think the Apostle James says it best in the following:

19 Understand this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Let everyone be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words and], slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving];

(James 1:19 NLT).

Back to the morning reading – 1 John chapters 1-4

So, Will Smith talked a lot about his defence mechanisms. Whilst not having the awareness in his younger years, he could now see how these defence mechanisms had caused damage to others, primarily Janet Hubert in this instance  (the original ‘Aunt Viv’ from the popular series, ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’). Well I’m not going to leave Will out there on his own ( I’ve got your back Will 🙂 )

I can definitely admit and have done so on this blog, to having been a wall builder and the harm that actually causes.

There is such a hope in me to experience the true joy of great relationships where I can be at peace about who I am enough to resist the urge to succumb to the lies of Satan, who will tell me to withdraw and start the construction of a new wall (no planning permission required here).

Well, in my daily pursuit of God, through time spent with him in discussion (aka prayer) and through reading His love letters to me (all 66 of them – aka the Bible!) I get that bit closer to experiencing that joy.

Throughout 1 John 1-4, we are encouraged overall to ‘love one another’. Live in God’s light (following His ways, in communion with Him and fellow believers) and love one another. We are warned not to love the ways of the world by craving after physical pleasure, craving for all we see or holding a pride in our achievements and possessions (1 John 2:15-17).

John doesn’t shy away from the acknowledgement that there is darkness all around us in this world and even within ourselves at times. It talks about the spirit of Antichrist which has been in this world for a very long time – and which is evident in false prophets:

3 But if someone claims to be a prophet and does not acknowledge the truth about Jesus, that person is not from God. Such a person has the spirit of the Antichrist, which you heard is coming into the world and indeed is already here.

(1 John 4:3 NLT)

But overall as I stated, we are encouraged to ‘love one another’.

Loving One Another

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God (1 John 4:7 – NLT)

11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. (1 John 4:11 – NLT)

So I implore you my dear brothers and sisters, to push on into this pursuit of God’s love, in order that His love will flow through us for others and help us to seek to understand and bring love to our relationships.

May God bless you.

‘But test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good.’
1 Thessalonians 5:21 (New Living Translation)

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