4 Simple Ways to Grasp Contrasting Perspectives

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Have you ever been to a painting party? Here in Hawaii, it has grown into the latest, trendy, socializing event. My husband and I appreciate those who have invited us to join their painting parties and gathering of people who may or may not know one another. One thing, we noticed those who attended these workshop parties often leave smiling from ear to ear with a humbled self-confidence, which is one of the reasons why we love them so much. Another beautiful thing we have witnessed is people of all ages, races, and gender—encouraging one another and complimenting each final masterpiece. No one must be an artist, all they must do is listen to the instructor, pick up the brush and paint and follow directions. Our 6-year-old son amazed us once with one of his painting. It turned out to be an abstract impressionism of the artwork in the front of the class and one of our best paintings we have on our walls. We often stare at it, amazed, feeling blessed to own it, and many times a little teary eyed. Why can’t people groups (organizations, churches, families…etc.) come together in that way? Why does it seem that people are offended so often lately? Why can’t we appreciate the variety of brush strokes that are applied based on the same instruction; but through different perspectives? Whenever I need an answer I search through the scriptures to find it.  

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In Mark 10:35-40 James and John ask Jesus for Him to grant their request. When Jesus asks them, what were they requesting, they tell Jesus that one wants to sit on the right and the other on the left of Jesus’s glory. But Jesus knew that their perspectives of Him being a King was looked at through their own understanding, which was not Jesus’s understanding. Jesus then tells them that they will drink from the same cup that he drinks and be baptized the same way Jesus does, but in verse 40 we read Jesus saying to them, “but to sit on My right hand and on My left, is not mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared.” Talk about being embarrassed. The other disciples were said to be annoyed at their ignorance. But Jesus doesn’t leave them in that state, with love and gentleness He calls them to Himself and tells them that they have seen how the godless walk about and, throw their status around and, how quickly all the prestige goes to their heads. Jesus then tells them in verses 43-45, “Not with you. Instead, whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be a slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give His life as a ransom for many.”    

So, what wisdom can we draw from the story above? What can we learn from watching Jesus’s life, through the scriptures? How does this scripture teach us about how to handle the different perspectives within own communities and movement? What strategies can we glean to assist us in our abilities to not be offended in church, in an organization, with our own families…etc. To answer these questions, let’s look at four simple ways to grasp these contrasting perspectives:

1.     Know that not everyone is called to do what you do. When we look at the mission we are called to do we can let go of being offended. Jesus knew that what He was called to do was not what James and John were called to do. As they were walking and serving alongside Jesus, one would think that they would understand the mission. But they didn’t. Did Jesus love them any less? No. He didn’t.

2.     When correction is needed speak the truth in Love. Jesus spoke to them, He didn’t hide his feelings. He spoke the truth in Love (Eph. 4:15). He spoke to them and reminded them that his mission, His canvas for life was different than that of the worlds portrait.

3.     You will have to serve others. Sometimes it may be hard to serve others. But serving others well is a quality of a good leader. To serve others does not require you to be a door mat. Jesus was never a doormat. He didn’t look at status, race, age, and color. Jesus knew that His life was to do the will of His Father (John 6:38). When you know that the main purpose for your life is to do the will of your heavenly Father your focus will not be on the contrasting perspective but rather the masterpiece in front of you.

4.     Give your life to Jesus. It is through Him that saves, not us (see Jn. 14:6). When we give our lives over to Jesus, He gives us a new canvas. He provides us the tools we are to use and instructs us.

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In any organization, church, or family there will be contrasting perspectives but if we take into consideration the four simple steps mentioned above then maybe we can see real change in our acceptance of the viewpoints other people have. We can get so easily caught up in right or wrongs that we never pick up the brush to paint or create the artwork God intended for us to create within our influence. We stare at the canvas afraid of the outcome. Do not let your paints dry out and leave your canvases blank. Create, and while you are doing that—encourage, and appreciate those who are working alongside you with their paint brushes in hand.

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Angelica is a woman who is passionate for the Lord. She was born and raised in Hawaii.  Angelica is also a devoted, loving wife, mother, and, grandmother. She is a sex-trafficking survivor and mentor, college graduate and holds a certification in substance abuse counseling. Currently, Angelica is a caretaker and small business owner. One of her greatest passions is seeing others accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior because it is through that acceptance for others and herself where she has seen miracles, faith, hope, and Aloha (Love).