It’s simple, but not easy, to break down barriers with others, and it involves speaking the same language.
Last week, I was standing in a buffet line at a Chinese restaurant. The lady in front of me accidentally knocked her empty cup off of the food bar. She glanced back and saw me pick it up and return it. Then, she surprised me by not even saying, “thank you.” Upon further observation, I noticed that she looked like she was from a different country, and I rapidly concluded that she probably just spoke a different language. However, I then thought that she could have communicated using more common language…a smile and a nod, or a “thumbs up” perhaps. But, maybe even that language wasn’t common for her.
Later in the week, my 15 year old daughter sent me a recipe on my mostly dormant, rarely used Pinterest account. I opened that account years ago, but didn’t understand why I needed it. But now, my daughter and I have more common language. And, it started with avocado chicken salad with cilantro and lime. We also currently share the language of “Dancing With The Stars.” I know I lose some “man points” in all of this, but it’s worth it. In regaining some “man points,” you should know that it’s easier for my son and me. We regularly speak basketball, hunting, and weaponry.
Thankfully, we also share the language of Jesus, redemption and grace. And, that language forges much deeper bonds than Pinterest ever will.
Over the years, I’ve realized that there is another language that is more common than most. It’s the language of suffering and struggle. Regardless of where you live, how much money you make, what your religious background is, we all know suffering and struggle.
In the world you will have trouble. (John 16:33)
Regardless of what people think about the Bible, everyone believes that verse.
And, when we speak the common language of struggle, initiating with, “Here’s where I’m struggling,” or “I need your help,” or “Pray for me,” then barriers come down and we more deeply connect with others.
And when we are able to sincerely speak the common language of struggle, responding to others with, “Me too,” or “I’ve been there,” or “I’m there now,” then others feel listened to and loved. The burdened is shared, and the weight becomes lighter.
It’s simple, but I often find that it’s not easy to speak this “language.” Does it come easy for you? What does it take to be more fluent?