Process is important. I’ve shared throughout my years of writing that I believe it’s important to not consider content alone but to keep it in the context of process. For example, listen to a conversation. Is what is being said the most important aspect of the conversation or the process that’s happening? How many times does one person say, “But I was listening!” while the other person argues, “But you didn’t really hear me.” or “But you don’t really care what I am saying.” Many times, these actual words aren’t said, because the people simply walk away from each other, disgusted, angry, or defeated.
There are a lot of conversations going on right now in which we are laser-focused on the content. We want to prove we’re right about politics, issues, health practices, and so on. We want to prove those who differ with us are wrong. But when we lose sight of the process, we miss the opportunity to value important qualities, such as, compassion and respect. We end up eroding our own integrity.
We can share ourselves and our opinions without unnecessarily harming others and our relationships. We’re not going to be the best of friends with everyone we disagree with, but we’re not going to be the best of friends with everyone anyway. It doesn’t mean we have to isolate others and become enemies. We don’t have to point the finger and place blame toward “those people,” whomever we define has values that are different from ours.
There’s more at stake than an issue. What are our behaviors, interactions, and attitudes revealing about our character? What harm are we doing to others and our relationships because of our own pride? What are we rationalizing as “helping others understand the truth” when, because of our approach, we’re isolating them and burning bridges for future conversations?
If we’re letting our pride guide our conversations, truth won’t shine through. Pride never clarifies truth. It always muddies it. If we truly want to seek and share truth, we’ve got to intentionally root out the pride in our lives, and that’s a constant progress. It grows rapidly and is invasive.
Truth is invasive, too, but it is always there. It has deep roots. We need to weed everything else around it. And that process requires us to consider the others who are doing life around us. They’re on a journey, too. What we do impacts their lives and their faith.
We can be better. We can focus less on the issue that’s right in front of us and consider relationships and interactions. Let’s be intentionally patient, compassionate, and humble.