Don’t Give Up

Don’t Give Up

Contributed by
Barb Linek

I remember the hot summer day I went in for my annual mammogram. I was touched by a young woman I saw in the waiting room, huddled under a blanket, shaking in fear of her upcoming test. I said to myself, a little cocky, “Thank God I’m not scared like her because I’m not worried about this. No one in my family has ever had cancer so I’ll be fine.” Twenty minutes later, I was ushered from the mammogram room to the nurse’s office to talk about next steps because they saw something unusual during my test. So much for being cocky! I was surprised to be diagnosed with breast cancer since we have no family history but I quickly learned that other things could trigger it. I didn’t realize it at the time, but now I know that this was the first day of a lifelong journey.

Of course, surgery was the next step. My surgeon was a wise man. He told me to bring family and friends to my second appointment with him because he wanted to answer all their questions before operating, not afterwards. This helped me form the habit of inviting someone along to every appointment and treatment. That way I never felt alone, which was important to keep my spirits up. Throughout this process, I learned that positive thoughts are essential to healing. For that important appointment before surgery, I invited my two children and a friend who is a retired nurse and knew all the right questions to ask. My children are both adults and have their distinct personalities. My son had no experience expressing his concern for my health and chose humor as his tool. One memorable conversation began, “So are you gonna die on me, Ma?” My daughter, on the other hand, is a doctor, trained to always maintain a clinical distance. She focused her questions on my treatment plan, not expressing her worries or fears for my health until months later.

The surgery went smoothly, soon followed by chemotherapy. I cleared my usually-packed calendar and waited to feel nauseous or something. It never happened. Some days I was tired and left work early to take a nap. After sitting home nights and weekends for the first month, I decided to resume my normal after-work activities. I squeezed in a nap when necessary but most days I felt fine. I was surprised and the oncologist was pleased. She attributed my energy to my strong faith and positive attitude. I also think those sweet friends who accompanied me to those four- or five-hour long chemo treatments were key. I chose them carefully for the positive thoughts they exude—and their ability to keep a conversation going that long!

After my final chemo treatment, I took a weekend trip to visit friends in St. Louis. This was a big mistake! Not allowing my body time to recuperate after that last blow caused me to develop swelling in my legs. This made it hard for me to walk, and I got very depressed. My coworkers were worried and decided to throw a surprise party for me. I noticed the preparations but I assumed the lavish party was for someone who was leaving the organization. You could have knocked me over with a feather when they said it was all for me! I was so moved by their kindness and encouragement. It took several weeks of intensive treatment to get the swelling down and, to this day, I need to be careful.

Radiation was the third step in the process. Radiation treatment took a few minutes a day, five days a week for a month. Doctor K. was as warm and kind as my surgeon and oncologist. And she was a great listener. I pushed her to finish treatment before my new grandchild was born. That way I would be able to go to Florida to visit my daughter and the new baby as soon as they got out of the hospital.

My last radiation treatment was on a cool spring morning. Doctor K. brought tears to my eyes when she congratulated me on my graduation and pinned a navy and white polka dot ribbon on my denim jacket. She reminded me to return for my next mammogram in six months. I still wear that polka dot ribbon on my jacket as a reminder of this long journey. I am grateful for my family and all the beautiful people who made breast cancer a positive experience of growth and encouraged me to never give up!

For more resources on personal and professional development,  you can follow Family Bridges on social media @familybridges.

Resolving Conflict

Resolving Conflict

By Bill Ferrell

Where are you in your marriage/significant relationship? How are you at resolving conflict? Do you move towards one another in a healthy way in order to address issues, or do you avoid conflict?

I picked my wife up from the airport as I did every Thursday night. She travels for her job and this was part of our weekly ritual. This reunion was always a highlight for both of us.

As we drove through Chicago to our home, we reconnected. She told me about her day and I told her about mine. I described a conversation I had with the neighbor. It involved a rabbit and a rotten oversized tomato. She laughed. I laughed. We felt connected. Ah – life is good.

Once we got home she went to the pantry to get some Trader Joe’s biscotti. She loves their biscotti. She swung the doors open, looked in and suddenly a perplexed expression crossed her face. She looked at me and asked, “Did you buy the biscotti this week?” “No,” I said.

She looked back into the pantry and stood there for a minute. Silently. As quickly as we had connected earlier – it felt like we were suddenly disconnected. Without saying another word, she walked up the stairs and to our bedroom.

I was confused. What happened? Why the sudden shift? I may be a little slow but I have been married long enough to know that something was not quite right. I traced back the order of events since I had picked her up. We had hugged, talked about our kids, discussed the weekend ahead, I told her the rabbit and tomato story, we came in, she looked into the pantry, and then that’s when it happened.

The sound of silence.

That was my first clue. Actually, it was my only clue. But that was enough. No biscotti. I know she loves her biscotti, but it couldn’t be that. Or could it?

I stood in the kitchen and looked at the clock. It was 10:30 p.m. I had a decision to make. Do I go upstairs and try to work this out with her tonight – whatever “this” is? I know from experience that it will take time and work.Or do I follow her lead, keep quiet, shut off the lights, and go to sleep? I knew the answer before I even seriously contemplated the question.

I went upstairs and waded in. It took a few questions to get to the core issue of her upset. And it wasn’t the lack of biscotti. No real surprise there. That was just a “trigger” for feelings she had experienced in our marriage for years – feeling neglected and unloved.

So I sat on the bed and listened. I worked at not being defensive or critical. The end result was that she felt loved and valued and we re-established the connection we had before. But it was actually even stronger.

Previously, I had spent too many years of our marriage avoiding conflict, which had damaged our relationship. I had been fearful of what might happen if I had addressed difficult issues head on. So I had chosen the path of least resistance. The result was a marriage that lacked true intimacy.

One day while reading the Bible, God spoke to me about how I had been in my marriage from this Scripture passage:

Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9

God was encouraging Joshua to be the leader He had created him to be – and not to fear. There was no need to be afraid because God was with him.

This is not your typical marriage verse. And yet it was exactly what I needed to hear. I needed to be strong and courageous in order to be the husband God had called me to be. I needed to reject passivity and take the initiative to resolve conflict.

In the last six years we have worked hard on our marriage. It has required trusting God through some very honest and difficult discussions. There has been a lot of pain – but it has been pain with a purpose.

Along the way I have constantly been encouraged to be strong and courageous because God is with us. The result is a marriage that is far greater than anything we ever could have imagined.

About Bill and Leslie Ferrell

Bill and Leslie have been married for 31 years, have 2 children and 2 adorable grandchildren: ages 1 and 3. Bill has been in vocational ministry his entire adult career and is currently the Executive Director of Pinnacle Forum – a ministry to marketplace leaders. Leslie is the CEO of Big Idea, Inc., the makers of Veggie Tales. And she does love her biscotti!

Bill and Leslie Ferell

30 Day Devotional

This resource can help you and your family encounter Scripture together and make deeper connections with God and each other. This has been designed to be used during the month of July, but you can use it at any time. We suggest you begin Day 1 on a Sunday because some activities are designed around the weekend and Sunday worship. God bless you!

Family Bridges App

Books too “last century” for you? This customized app will give you access to resources to manage your own growth or even take the journey with a group of friends. What are you waiting for?

The Prodigal Dad, the Forgiving Son

The Prodigal Dad, the Forgiving Son

Contributed by
Eduardo Morales

My heart was pumping. I started to get all warm inside. It was that feeling you get when you know the Holy Spirit is prompting you to respond at that very moment.

“Bold Steps, who in here needs to take a bold step?!” the pastor was challenging all of the men from the stage.

His voice was easily drowned out by the sound of my heartbeat. “Why did I need to do this now God? At this moment? In front of all these men? I am going look weak! Lord, I can just talk to my father when I’m at home, why do I need to do this here?!!!” That was the dialogue that was going through my head. By that time several men had already taken the stage to take of the challenge and take their bold steps.

Six years prior I was left awestruck, confused, hurt, scarred, broken. My dad walked out on my mom, brother and I. Fortunately, for me I was able to cope by going away to college. It was my form of escape.  I wasn’t at the house, I didn’t know what was going on, and didn’t know how deep this cut was for my family. I knew one thing though, I had lost all respect for my father. The hard-working, strict, “do whatever I can to help and provide for my family” man I once knew, I wanted nothing to do with. “Why Dad? Why are you coming here? Why do you want to be around?” I couldn’t really grasp much of it in the moment, but my response was reject and ignore and try my best to forget.

I knew I needed to take a bold step and forgive my father. I needed to choose to put my pain behind me, so that our relationship could be mended, healed, restored. I started walking towards the front, gently pushing past all the men that crowded near the stage. I didn’t want to be up there; but I needed to be.

“Is there anybody else that needs to take a bold step today?” that pastor said again.

I stood by the steps and finally walked up. “And what bold step are you taking today?” he said.

In a very shaky voice I said, “I need to share something with my father. I need to forgive him.”

Turning his gaze to the sea of men before us the pastor shouted, “where is he at, let’s bring him up on stage…”

He wasn’t even in the room. “Seriously!!! Now I really look like a fool,” I told God in my head. They literally sent a search crew to find him and I waited up on the stage until someone finally found him. “I knew I should’ve just waited until we got home,” I said to myself.

I got used to my dad not being around. I took shelter in my achievements, my dating relationship at the time, even to a small extent drugs, alcohol, and gambling. Although he chose to be absent for a time of my life, didn’t change the fact that he was still my father and I was his son. I didn’t want to continue journeying life trying to figure things out on my own. I wanted that relationship. I needed that relationship. Some seasons in life had been activated a bit prematurely. The king left the household, so the prince had to take over to a position he was unfamiliar with, a position that he was not yet equipped to handle.

“We found him!” someone shouted in the back. He came to the stage with a sense of urgency.

“Your son has something that he wants to share with you…” and with that the pastor handed me the microphone.

“Dad, I just want to tell you that I love you very much…”(my eyes started watering,) “…I asked you to come up here, because I need to take a bold step. I need to forgive you for everything that has happened in our past. I don’t want the enemy to hold you in a guilty position anymore. I choose today dad to put the last six years behind me.” At that point I was sobbing. My father grabbed me and we shared a moment, as we embraced in one of the biggest hugs I ever gave him, I felt freed, I felt released. In that moment, the string of hurt, betrayal, abandonment all melted away.  I felt the power of release and the freedom of forgiveness.

I had several men approach me and tell me how impactful that moment was for them. I felt like the Lord showed me that that moment wasn’t just for you, it was so all those men in that room could see what a real-life, sincere act of forgiveness looked like.

Our relationship has changed in such a positive and drastic way since. I believe that choosing to forgive can be a vulnerable and risky thing, but learning how to forgive and applying it to our relationships is an integral act. Forgiveness frees, unforgiveness entangles and hinders. We must learn to forgive, as he has forgiven us.

For more resources on personal and professional development,  you can follow Family Bridges on social media @familybridges.

Life-Changing Gratitude

Life-Changing Gratitude

Contributed by
Bill Ferrell

A few years ago, university psychologists conducted a research project on gratitude and thanksgiving. They divided participants into two groups. People in the first group practiced daily exercises like writing in a gratitude journal.

They reported higher levels of alertness, determination, optimism, energy, and less depression and stress than the control group. Not surprisingly, they were also a lot happier than those who were told to keep an account of all the bad things that happened each day.

One of the psychologists concluded that though a practice of gratitude is a key to most religions, its benefits extend to the general population, regardless of faith or no faith. He suggested that anyone can increase his sense of well-being just from counting his blessings.

But – and this is a BIG BUT – what do you do when you lose your job? You’re estranged from your children? Your parents die? Your marriage is mediocre – or worse? Your friend betrays you? You get cancer?

Two Types of Gratitude

One is secondary, the other primary.

The secondary type is gratitude for blessings received. Life, health, home, family, freedom, Cubs winning the World’s Series (2016, in case you forgot) — it’s a mindset of active thankfulness for good gifts.

The great preacher and American theologian Jonathan Edwards called thanks for these kinds of blessings “natural gratitude.” It’s a good thing, but this gratitude doesn’t come naturally — if at all — when things go badly. We cannot rely on this type of gratitude when life goes sour.

Radical Gratitude

Edwards calls the deeper, primary type of thankfulness “radical gratitude.” It is not about the things we receive or experience, but about the character of God. It is a response to knowing and understanding God’s amazing grace and love. It gives thanks, not because of the stuff we get, but because God loves us.

This radical gratitude goes to the heart of who we are. It is relational, rather than conditional. Even if our world shatters, we stay intact because we know we are deeply loved by God. And that will never change. People who are filled with this radical gratitude are unstoppable, irrepressible, overflowing with what C. S. Lewis called “the good infection” — the supernatural, refreshing love of God that draws others to Him.

Growing Grateful

If you want to grow a grateful heart (or a more grateful heart)– start today.

  1. Make a list of 10 things you are grateful for. Be sure to include both those things which are natural and those things which are radical.
  2. Do this for a week.

Life can have some amazing highs as well as some challenging lows. Love, joy, peace, pain, loss, sadness. Our circumstances will change. Most of which are beyond our control. There is no question about that. That’s the nature of life.

However, regardless of the height of the mountaintops or the depth of the valleys – we can experience joy if we develop a heart of radical gratitude.

For more resources on personal and professional development,  you can follow Family Bridges on social media @familybridges.

A Journey of Silence

A Journey of Silence

Contributed by
Nancy Duarte

Hi, I’m excited to share my journey with you, which is strengthening the spiritual disciplines. God intends the Disciplines of the spiritual life for ordinary human beings, like me, people that go to work everyday, care for children, etc. The only requirement to get started is a longing for God. My goal for this year is to start from the inward towards the outward disciplines, and hopefully applying them in the community. So beginners are welcome! Let´s walk together and share our growth in this area.

Let´s see, How to get started? I´m doing my own research by getting books that might help me in my journey. Also, I´m planning to meet a Spiritual Director, someone who is been trained in the process of growing not only in spiritual disciplines, but also in other areas of spiritual life. Good resources of this journey are the books Celebration of Discipline (Richard Foster) and Spiritual Formation (Henry Nouwen). They come from two different traditions, nevertheless, they enrich the journey.

You might wonder, where are you now? I´m working on the process of discipline my body and mind from the everyday noise. Yes, practicing “be still and know that I am God”. This is not an easy goal to accomplish. I´m becoming aware of my own distractions, e.g. the unanswered mail, the phone call pending, the news, etc. Most of all, I would say my inner voices….that take me to the sense of urgency over of what it is really important….also, I´m trying to keep a written journal of my experiences…..I´ll keep you posted!

Do unto Others

Do unto Others

Contributed by
Eva Fleming

Charles Darwin had no idea that the phrase, “survival of the fittest,” originating from his theories was going to become a code phrase for those clawing their way to the top without regard for the common man. Seeking our interests and putting our needs first to the detriment of others has become the 21st Century accepted strategy for survival. Sometimes our manipulation to get to the top is overt and sometimes it’s a hidden game of strategy like in the CBS broadcasted game of Survivor.

It is our nature to panic and seek success using any method imaginable because after all only the people with a strong desire to succeed and the ability to “adapt” can be “successful”. But if you are presently feeling the urge to destroy others for the preservation of the ego, I urge you to listen to the words of Mignon McLaughlin, “Don’t be yourself. Be someone a little kinder.”

Success and survival in the wild is not analogous to success in your relationships.  For it is not when you are the swiftest, the strongest, or smartest that your relationships survive, but when you are kind.

Before you start thinking that you don’t want to be kind because it implies a kind of niceness that you don’t possess, let me put you at ease. Kindness is not niceness. Barry Corey in his book, Love Kindness remind us that, “kindness is fierce, never to be mistaken by niceness. They’re not the same and never were. Kindness is neither timid nor frail, as niceness can be so easily.” So I’m not asking you to be nice. I am asking you to be brave, daring, fearless and courageous. If you do your kid’s laundry, you are being nice. But if you teach them how to do their own laundry patiently and consistently, you are being kind. You are being kind because you want them to feel accomplished, self-sufficient, and ready for independence. Kindness is not a short-lived act that pleases others, it is a permanent action with eternal consequences.

But there’s another aspect to kindness. The one that forces us to be civil and receivable. It’s so easy to get swept by the meanness of our peers and like them point the finger, criticize, and call to task all those who disagree with us. We know how to put someone in their place and spend countless hours researching the errors of their way. It takes much courage though to stand with compassion next to those we disagree with. In the words of Barry Corey, we must become receivable.  Not accepted, not received by them but receivable! Decent enough to where we are not pushing people away.

Kindness is also good for our personal health. Like most medical antidepressants, kindness stimulates the production of serotonin. Serotonin calms you down and gives you a sense of happiness. Engaging in acts of kindness produces endorphins, the brain’s natural painkillers. Compassionate people have 23% less cortisol, the stress hormone.

So forget the survival of the fittest. Instead, be kind. It’s good for your mental health and it’s also good for your sons, daughters, friends, and spouse who desperately need you to make a difference for them. Choose to do unto others what you would want them to do unto you.

Think about the words of the proverb, “one gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” So go on ahead, stop withholding and allow kindness to enrich your relationships and bring satisfaction to your life, because unlike Darwin’s Theory of surviving in the wild, when it comes to personal relationships it is only when you share your life with others that you can then find life satisfying.

For more blogs, tips and articles on kindness and relationships, follow us on social media as @familybridges.

A Key to Intimacy

A Key to Intimacy

Contributed by
Bill Ferrell

I was wrong.

I was in my 20’s when I first learned the meaning of this phrase. It’s not that I didn’t know what these words meant. For years I had used the word “I” and the word “was” and the word “wrong.” I just had rarely used them all together. In a complete sentence.

It was not that I thought I was infallible. Of course not. I knew I was not perfect and that I made mistakes. Who doesn’t? However, I was not confronted on a regular basis of my deficiencies.

And then I got married.

Now, this is not to say that my wife was always telling me what a screw up I was. She did have to sleep at night. That was a joke (just in case you missed it…and in case she reads this).

However, when I was single I could more easily manage what people saw and their experience of me. I did a lot of “image management” – as we all do. It’s part of being human. We all want people to believe that we better than we are.

And so we exaggerate our accomplishments, make excuses for our misbehavior, rationalize our self-centeredness, and resist admitting we are wrong. We try to create a picture of who we would like to be, rather than who we truly are.

We have a deep desire to be loved. We desperately want to be accepted and treasured. This is the central passion in our lives. However, this passion is not a character flaw. This is not because we are broken or messed up. This is how we were divinely created. This is part of God’s beautiful design. This passion is from God.

However, how we fulfill this passion is crucial.

For someone to completely and fully know us, with all our flaws and defects and deficiencies – that’s scary. That’s risky. That’s dangerous. When that happens, we can experience short term instability in the relationship. And yet, that is the only place where we can know true intimacy.

To be fully known and fully loved satisfies the deepest longing of our soul. No one knows us better than God. When we understand his deep love for us – our lives will be transformed forever.

If we want to experience true intimacy with others, there is only one way to do that. Stop the image management. Practice saying “I was wrong.” And let people know who you really are. When you do that – you and your relationships will be transformed.

For more blogs, tips and articles on relationships and marriage, follow us on social media as @familybridges.

Believe like a Child

Believe like a Child

Contributed by
Bill Ferrell

Believe like a child.

When I was a child I believed in many things.

I believed that a stick could be a sword.

I believed that a cardboard box could be a car.

I believed Santa Claus would bring me presents.

I believed I could fly (I did in my dreams – so why not when I was awake).

I believed my father would catch me when I jumped off the edge of the pool.

I believed that my parents loved me.

I believed that the world was good.

And then I grew up.

I learned not everything was as I had believed. Sticks made poor weapons, cardboard boxes would not move, Santa Claus’s real name was Mom and Dad, and I flew like a rock when I jumped off the roof.

We live in a world that has challenged many of our childhood beliefs and have contributed to how we see and understand the world.

The current political environment.

Terrorism.

Racism.

Divorce.

Physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.

Poverty.

Disappointment in what we believed our life was going to be “when we grew up.”

These are some of the realities we live with. These can shape the way we view life. But these are not the only realities. If this is all we see, we are looking at an incomplete picture which distorts our perspective of reality.

There is the magnificence of a sunrise. The splendor of a meal with good friends. The miracle of birth. The hug of a child around your neck. The laughter at the dinner table with family. The holiness of a wedding ceremony. The deep connection with another human being. The delight of a child discovering the world. The love between a man and a woman.

The amazing love of God. God’s love is the greatest reality of all. The depths that we can plumb for the rest of our lives and never find the bottom.

God who loves us. In every way. Who loved us to death. His.

Believe like a child.

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:1-4

For more blogs, tips and articles on relationships, follow us on social media as @familybridges

Hot Chocolate and Shared Stories

Hot Chocolate and Shared Stories

Contributed by
Eva Fleming

Even though my father had to travel plenty due to his job, he was always present in my life. I remember many nights where he shared stories of his travels with me and my five sisters by the light of a candle. In those days it was common for a household in the Dominican Republic to lose electricity at night. During these dark nights my mother made ginger tea and corn bread while we shared stories late into the night. My dad’s stories instilled a vision and enthusiasm for life that is permanently imprinted in my heart. My father, with my mother at his side, would use his experiences to speak to us about the future and how to navigate through life’s victories and defeats.

This is why I am suggesting that you incorporate the magic of hot chocolate and reading together as a family into your fall and winter traditions. These cozy weekend nights will not only create positive memories that your children will cherish, but they will also make your loved ones feel connected. Studies have shown that family togetherness has many advantages. In families where family warmth exists, you will find improved communication between children and their parents, children with higher self-esteem, better grades, and improved behavior in the home and at school.

Family togetherness is important for strengthening the family and the spirit of our children. In the absence of a good support system, stress and conflict can lead to broken family relationships.

The brain remains flexible throughout our lives, but is most flexible in childhood. In his book Emotional Intelligence, Dr. Daniel Goleman shares that the emotional management habits that are repeated over and over again during the childhood and teenage years mold the mental circuitry that is present in adulthood. This makes childhood a crucial window of opportunity for shaping lifelong emotional propensities. “Habits acquired in childhood,” Goleman argues, “become set in the basic synaptic writing of neural architecture, and are harder to change later in life”. This is why childhood is such a crucial time to mold the emotional inclinations which will influence us for the rest of our lives.

When my father passed away on September 3, 2013, he left a legacy of faith, strong conviction, relationship smarts, and a strong sense of community.

If you wish to support your children and leave them a strong legacy, especially during a time when mental health is a struggle for teenagers, there is no better way than family warmth. During this cold season, instead of scattering throughout the house, gather together with warm mugs of hot chocolate and share stories –either ones from your life or ones that you read out loud from a book. Pass down your faith, courage, and vision for the future.

For more blogs, tips and articles on relationships, follow us on social media as @familybridges.

How to be a Better Communicator

How to be a Better Communicator

Contributed by
Bill Ferrell

The number one complaint of communication breakdowns is NOT “he wasn’t clear”, or “she was kind of fuzzy, or “they didn’t give enough information.”

It is: “He/She doesn’t listen.”

Most of us suck when it comes to listening. This is no surprise. We spend years in school learning to read, write, and speak. There are seminars and workshops on how to construct and deliver effective talks. We have conferences devoted to giving TED Talks. But when was the last time you heard of a class on listening? (These are more common in counseling degrees, though).

We have been taught that communication is primarily about getting our point of view across to someone else. And yet, when it comes to relationships – whether with loved ones or in a work environment – listening is the most important of all relational skills.

To be a great listener you must develop EMPATHY. You probably recognize the word and maybe even know the definition of what it means: the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions. But – and here is the BIG BUT – do you practice it?

In his book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey says, “We do not see the world as it is; we see the world as we are – or as we have been conditioned to be.” We assume that we see and experience the world from an objective unbiased perspective. Therefore, all we need to do is to communicate “the truth” (the facts as we see them) and any reasonable person will agree with us. Yeah – how is that working for you? (It doesn’t).

In order to be a great communicator, we must first seek to understand before attempting to be understood. This is counter-intuitive. That’s because our natural “intuition” is to be self-centered. We naturally believe that the world is about us. It’s the bent we are born with. That means we have to work at understanding someone else’s world.

As you work to listen and truly understand someone else’s heart it legitimize their reality. And when that happens, you create a pathway for them to consider your perspective. However, seeking to understand another’s world isn’t necessarily about agreeing with them. Don’t be confused about that. Empathy is the willingness to abandon your own perspective and step into their shoes. This takes an “other-centeredness” and humility.

The Bible describes this is what Jesus did. Even though he was God, he chose to humble himself and identify with us (i.e. become a man, Phil. 2:3-7). He did this out of love and was the ultimate act of humility.
Knowing God’s love can motivate us to do the hard work of seeking to understand others before being understood. If we do that, we will communicate humility and a love for others.

And that’s a message others will hear!

For more blogs, tips and articles on relationships, follow us on social media as @familybridges