Love the “Other” – Purposeful Living Idea 7 of 52

“We operate with the assumption that giving people new ideas changes people.  It doesn’t.  Believing ideas is, in fact, a way of not having to change in any significant way.  Especially if you can argue about them, ideas become defenses. … You do not have to substantially change to think some new ideas.  You always have to change to love and forgive ordinary people.”  - Richard Rohr

I propose that if we want to change the world, the place to start isn’t with trying to convince others our ideas are right.  The place to start is within oneself and finding the courage to love and forgive others, especially those with differing ideas.  As we find the courage to love and forgive, perhaps we’ll stimulate others to do the same and the world will become a more loving, forgiving place.

My friend Steve was talking about something similar yesterday.  He said something along these lines: “When someone asks me a question about a divisive topic, I’ll ask them, ‘Can we still be friends even if we disagree about ethical issues?’ Depending on their answer I know how far our conversation will go.”

I’ve been thinking about this a lot since.  How good of friends am I to people who think totally different than I do – especially about ethical concerns?  Do I really love them?  Do I forgive them from my perspective even if they don’t seek forgiveness given their ethical differences?  Perhaps I could experience better life by being a better friend to others and receiving better friendships in return.  How would this work?

Love those with differing ideas.  Better your life.  Change the world.

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