How do you have difficult conversations? How do you respond when someone has a differing opinion from yours? To take it a step further, how do you respond when the differing opinion can be interpreted as something that is harmful to you? Lastly, when you hear that someone has maligned you, how do you address it?

I know that these are topics I have spoken about many times before; however, an event happened during the past few days that showed me how divided we can be, and how our differing views are capable of causing each other so much pain, and this really hit home for me, because I love these people so very much.

I was reminded of a story I heard regarding the interaction between observant and non-observant Jews. The non-observant Jews were driving in the very orthodox neighborhood on the Sabbath, and the very observant Jews– specifically the ignorant children– were throwing stones and yelling, which in turn caused the non-observant Jews to be angry and filled with hate. A very famous Rabbi spoke up and said, “I cannot find any forgiveness for those that throw stones. If in fact you care about your fellow Jews and want them to stop driving through the neighborhood on the Sabbath, then invite them into your homes for the Shabbat experience, and let them see the beauty instead of hate, which is exactly what God wants”.

This reminded me that if I respond with anger, all I am doing is fueling the fire. I need to respond with kindness, listen, be patient, and then explain and guide others as to why and how I see it differently. I need to truly show the beauty in my point of view, and truthfully, if my point of view isn’t beautiful, maybe I need to take a step back and reconsider!

How do you respond when your opinion differs from the opinion of someone you care about? Additionally, how do you respond when you feel like someone has maligned or slighted you?

Regarding the maligning person, I wouldn’t reach out to them, and if I ran into them out in public, I would kill them with kindness. Furthermore, if their words cause more than a sting, I choose to be introspective in a non-judgmental way, and ask myself if there is something I need to work on, or if there is something I can learn from the experience.

This week, let’s truly treat others as we want to be treated. Let’s attack with kindness, let’s seek to understand, and let’s help someone to see the kind, loving, and compassionate way we can treat one another.

Accountability, Community, Unconditional Love


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