“let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger…” (ESV)
When I was young we would go back to the cliffs behind our house. There was a tall cliff on this side, and a tall cliff on that side. In the middle was a vast expanse. We’d try to throw rocks from one side to the other.
It was a long distance.
In the same way, there is often a distance between people.
Sometimes it’s easy to know why this happens. There was a fight or disagreement or general parting of ways. Other times, it’s just hard to be sure. Life decisions, circumstance, busyness and apathy have a drifting effect.
This week I’m offering super-practical ideas to connect with people and bridge the gap so that you can love them. After all, Jesus calls us to love one another. That’s easy when we feel connected, close, and have similar interests and time on our hands.
But what about when someone is on that side of the cliff and you’re on this side? How do you bridge the gap ? What do you do?
You make an effort to learn about their life.
Maybe you ask them a question about where they’re from or what their interests are. Maybe you inquire about their hobbies or what they did on the weekend.
When you do that, two things happen. First, you learn that you probably have some common ground in life. Second, the other person gets the sense that you actually care about them. Oh, and I should also say this. Don’t use it as an opportunity to just talk about yourself or make a thousand comments or judgments about what is going on in their life. Just listen and learn.
Feel that? The cliffs just started moving closer. Attentive conversation can move mountains.
When someone is on that side of the cliff and you’re on this side, and you want to connect and bridge the gap so that you can be a loving, caring presence in their life, make an effort to learn more about them.
Sometimes your next best step as a loving person doesn’t have to be rocket science. But it does have to be made by you.
By Matthew Ruttan