Friday, October 1, 2021

Finding Common Ground in a Divided Culture


BySarah Geringer 


When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some.

1 Corinthians 9:22 NLT



Finding common ground in a divided culture isn't easy. But it's an amazing way to reach out to others in love, and you can do this in everyday conversations. It's probably not as hard as you think...let me explain.

I'm an introvert, and new settings with strangers aren't super fun for me. However, I actively look for something in common with a new person, and then I can strike up a conversation with greater comfort.

You can look for clues to establish common ground. Are they wearing something with a name brand you know? Do they have jewelry that says something about their tastes? Do their tattoos tell a story? Most people have something on them that can be common ground with you.

Just about anything can become a conversation piece. I've struck up conversations based on a sports team jersey, a Vera Bradley purse, a book, shoes, a child's toy and a Tervis cup. People LOVE talking about themselves. If you give a positive comment on something they own, they are most often happy to talk about it.

This approach can be especially helpful for dealing with someone different from you. Finding common ground builds bridges in a divided culture. It demonstrates that you are interested in others and willing to listen. Everyone is hungry for someone to listen to them. You get the conversation started, and if you listen well, they will feel respected and even loved.

We must meet people where they are to find common ground and bridge divides. Once you start a conversation, meet them in their weakness. Be vulnerable and open, admitting your weaknesses too. You won't be able to lead them all to Christ, but you'll touch them with his love and kindness when you find common ground with them.

Remember, a divided culture will change one relationship at a time. The change likely won't happen outside authentic relationships. Be the first to reach out with God's love, and you'll be known as a bridge builder. You won't only bless those with whom you are talking - you'll inspire others to be bridge builders too as they watch you finding common ground.

Here's a prayer to encourage you too:

Father God,

Thank you for the practical nature of your Word.

I confess that I don't always build common ground.

Sometimes I even contribute to the divisions in my culture.

But I want to be a bridge builder, starting today.

Teach me how to find common ground with everyone you put in my path.

Give me creative inspiration along with courage to reach out.

Help me share in others' weaknesses by being vulnerable and authentic.

May my pursuit of common ground with others build bridges to you.

In Jesus' name,

Amen.


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