Changing The Narrative – Part 2

Earlier this week, I wrote about how we can change the narrative in our Country. In a time when disagreements seem to be at an all time high and people struggle with the art of communication, how can you and I change the narrative.

If you missed the first part of this post, please check it out here.

Today, I want to continue this conversation by adding three more steps we can take if we want to grow in our beliefs, have constructive conversations and deepen our relationships.

Here are the 6 steps we can take to change the narrative.

  1. Always Buy The First Cup Of Coffee
  2. Remember Hurting People Hurt People
  3. Use Statements That Encourage Dialogue

Four: Desire Change Over Being Right

I’m competitive. I want to win. That’s true in sports, in competitions with my team, even in playing games with my kids. Just today, I was playing a game to help Waverly with her school work and I lost to her. I remember thinking halfway through, “Ernest, are you going to let her win?” and a quick “of course not” was my internal response.

I know. I know. Judge me all you want…but it’s one of my many flaws.

And this flaw shows itself even in the conversations I have with others. But, should winning be the goal?

I learned a long time ago that I can win the battle, but lose the heart. I can seek the win in an argument or discussion, but I can lose the ability to grow as an individual and the chance to have a friendship with the person.

If you want to grow, strengthening your beliefs, then seek to change, not to be right. If you want relationships with people, especially with those you disagree with, then seek change, not to be right.

The only way I can do this in my conversations is asking myself either before the conversation or trying to pause in the midst of it and asking “What is my goal for this conversation?”

If I can stop and ask that question, I usually know the right answer is to change, not to be right. To be open to a different view, to have a chance to strengthen my own view or to learn how to have open dialogue with those who are different than me. This brings about change. Let’s seek change together.

Five: Hold Onto And Express Hope

One of the things I’m seeing in almost every conversation these days is fear. The sky is falling. Our lives as we know it will end. No matter where you stand with different issues, you always have someone telling you that you should be fearful.

What if we changed the narrative and we held onto and expressed hope in our conversations.

Here are three things I have hope in.

  1. Humanity: I just don’t buy the lie that humanity is evil and we are all going down in flames. Yes, every person has sin, among whom I am the biggest sinner, but every person is also made in the image of God. That means every person has the capacity to love, to show grace, to display truth, for goodness. “But Ernest, just because they have the capacity doesn’t mean they will.” You are right and yet I will still have hope that humanity will.
  2. Jesus: Jesus is the ultimate hope…He is our ETERNAL hope. That means nothing can take that way. That means no matter our circumstances, no matter what happens in this election, no matter what happens with our country, if our hope is in Jesus, it will NEVER fail. Jesus is faithful, good, powerful, loving, just and redeeming. I will place my hope in Him.
  3. The Church: The Church is the GREATEST force to change the world. When our hope is in politics or a country or a person, we will be disappointed. When we expect other people or organizations to change the world, we aren’t grasping the power of the Church. The church is the greatest change agent on the planet and NOTHING will stop the church…nothing. (Matthew 16:18)

Even when the sky is falling, hold onto and express hope.

Six: Change Starts With Me

Its so easy to pit us against them. To use language like “when they” or “if they would just” or “they can’t”. When we do that, we are hoisting ourselves up and bringing others down. We are drawing a clear line in the sand, expecting the other person to come to our side.

But, what if our posture was “God, how can I change?” “God what are you wanting me to do differently?”

I have been asking this a lot lately and guess what, my views haven’t change a whole lot. I think my beliefs and values are pretty biblical, I hope, and they have been strengthened through conversations with others.

But I have started to change.

I started to change what I post on social media. I started to change how I respond to people on social media. I started to change how much time I spend on social media.

I also began changing my approach. Instead of being in a state of reaction, I started asking “How can I change the narrative?” So I began thinking about how I can speak into issues, into topics that will encourage people to pursue truth, will encourage people to support other humans, will encourage people to pray for others.

I had to choose. Do I let the conversation control me or do I change, essentially helping to change the narrative. Let’s focus on letting God change us first. Sure, I would love for others to believe like me, think like me, vote like me…that would result in a perfect life for everyone, right? Not quite.

What if instead of focusing on making “you” change, what if I worry about me? What if I focus on the change that needs to happen in my own heart? What if I prayed, “God, I know there are things that need to change in me. Please show me where I can change and give me the strength to make those changes?”

Imagine how differently we would see the world. Imagine the difference we would make in the world. Imagine the narrative we could change.

I’ll leave you with two last thoughts.

One, is from a college student. He wrote an article about cancel culture and how it is impacting our country. He said this…“Only a culture that allows for redemption and open discourse can encourage the moral progress we all want.” Wow!! Pretty profound.

Two, let’s remember the words of the Apostle Paul to his mentee, Timothy. His reminder to Timothy should be a reminder to us all…

But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

2 Timothy 4:5

Let’s Change The Narrative!!!

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