Finding Common Ground
How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity! Psalm 133:1
Read that verse again. When I first read it, I thought what are you thinking, psalmist? Live together in unity? Good and pleasant? Mister, you are looking through rose-colored glasses! How can we live in unity when today we are so polarized?
I thought about that verse when I took one of my daily walks through our neighborhood. I think I stumbled upon an answer. One of our neighbors had a big sign on the fence bordering their sidewalk. It said: “Make a difference. Find common ground with those you disagree.”
I used to teach my nursing students Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. In essence this theory says that all human beings have the same basic needs. They range from needs as necessary as food and water to higher level needs like love and esteem. If we take that to heart and realize this person on the other side of an issue is basically no different than us, can’t we see that as our common ground?
Find common ground. Easier said than done, but I think it is possible. What does it involve? Seeing this person you disagree with as a human being with the same basic needs as you. Listening to his or her side of an issue. Sharing your opinion in a kind, non-forceful way. Maybe nothing will be accomplished except being able to share opposite sides. Maybe neither side will be swayed, but at least both parties will have shown respect to each other.
Perhaps that is what the psalmist had in mind – mutual respect. I’m not saying it is going to be easy, but perhaps it is worth giving a try. Jesus did it and he would want us to do it. Who knows? Maybe this acknowledgement of common ground will lead to further discussions and a friendship. Isn’t it said that nothing is impossible with God?
Prayer: Dear Jesus, I know you want me to love others. Please help me open my heart to those who disagree with me. Help me spread your love to all of your children. Amen
The people of Grace share their favorite bible stories for the 2023 Lenten Devotional: I Love to Tell the Story. Each day's devotional will be automatically posted so come back daily after 7 am for a new reflection.