“Oh God, you didn’t vote for Trump did you?”

I didn’t say that; an Aussie journalist did after He picked up a ‘long lost’ American cousin from the airport in Sydney.

Here’s a summary of what happened next:

“I can’t *&%$# believe it, I am driving around Sydney with a %*$# Trump supporter, and she happens to be my cousin!

Are you out of your mind? Donald Trump is a psychopath. He’s a sociopath. He’s a pathological narcissist”.

He pulled over.

“Look I don’t think I can do this” he said, reaching across the front seat to open her door.

“Are you throwing me out of your car?” the cousin asked.

“I don’t know. Yes. No. Of course, I’m not.”

“Wow, Cuz… Perhaps we should talk about something else in future.”

It’s not, pretty is it? But it is a brave admission by the journo to man up and go on and publish this episode in a national paper, admitting he had failed appallingly to uphold all the things he believed others should.

Here’s the journalist’s confession:

“Violent in my actions…I’d proved myself no better, no less self-righteous, no less dogmatic and contemptuous than those I’d criticized for their so-called narrowness and ignorance…my own reaction was/is symptomatic of ‘the dangerous place’ we’re all in”.

Shut up and listen to "yes" campaigners

Wouldn’t it be great if we could all reach similar epiphanies in Australia as we deal with proposals to redefine marriage?

‘Yes’ advocates argued for increased laws to protect gay people from vilification during this time. Yet, what we see in the papers and online is so often ‘Yes’ campaign’s supporters shouting down anyone who doesn’t agree with them. Employees receive emails encouraging them to vote yes. Football clubs tell their supporters what to vote. The papers regularly publish letters to the editor dominantly from the ‘yes’ side, shouting down at the stupidity and so-called bigotry of those who want to retain marriage as it is.

Of course, intolerant examples of those who wish to say ‘no’ are not absent. We can just as easily shout at our opponents.

Why can’t we hear our own intolerance?

‘Get out of the car!’

Why can’t we hear ourselves transgressing the very things we value so much?

‘How dare you bring your beliefs into society and stop others from being happy…’

And so, it goes.

But as this journalist found, if you have any self-awareness, this is not the kind of world we want to live in. This is how we fuel wars, genocide, racial discrimination, religious hatred and so on.

A better world for our kids is one that listens

We want our kids to see us do better don’t we?

Where does it begin?

As the journalist discovered...it starts with humility.

It starts with knowing you don’t know everything.

What does humility look like?

  1. You are aware of how much you don’t know and are open to learn
  2. You don’t need to be in a competition or prove your side.
  3. You realise that winning an argument is not worth it if it leads to a loss of respect and tolerance
  4. You are willing to empathise rather than be quick to judge
  5. You are willing to speak up, even if it costs you, because humility considers others as more important than yourself.

Essentially, this humility enables us to shut up and listen.

Does listening mean we must keep the peace at all costs?

I recall social occasions where any time the conversation got interesting, one of our relatives would shut it down and divert us all back to the weather or something less controversial. Were they right to do so? Doesn’t Philippians talk about ‘being of the same mind’ and ‘making it our goal to be at peace with each other’?

Shouldn’t we be peacemakers and let our society abandon God if they want to?

The Bible encourages us to have the same mind, the mind of Christ. But it doesn’t mean agreeing with each other on every matter. Instead it requires us to humble ourselves so that we ‘think the same’ as Jesus. Consequently, we are actively choosing, when we think like Jesus, to put the other person first.

We are also encouraged to ‘speak the truth in love’, with gentleness and respect. We are not called to be keeping the peace at all costs. We are not called to agree on everything. If we believe there is truth, that marriage is unchanging, then we need to speak that truth for it will be for the good of all. But it doesn’t start with point scoring, opinionated-ness, raised voices or mockery.

Instead what we need to show them is the ability to listen, empathise and understand.

So next time an issue or opinion comes up that you don’t agree with, like Same Sex Marriage for example. Let’s try digging deeper to understand what’s behind the 'other’s' view point. It is OK to disagree. We may not change our minds. But we will be able to co-exist if we don’t dehumanize each other and instead seek to understand and respect each other.

Epilogue

What happened to the Aussie journalist and his cousin? They continued to see each other, forged a firm friendship, learnt to respect each other and began to listen. Neither has changed their views, yet. But the platform is there for them to listen to each other rather than rant and bark and bite.

It’s a cool article, you may like to read the whole thing here:

Heartbreak Hill by David Lesser, Good Weekend Magazine, Sydney Morning Herald September 16, 2017, pp10-13.

Make sure you're subscribed to www.antonsantics.com to get all the latest videos, releases and purposeful parenting blogs