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Finding common ground (2)

3 December 2023 ‘I have voluntarily become a servant to…all.’ 1 Corinthians 9:19 MSG

Whether you’re applying for a job, trying to win someone to Christ, counselling and advising, or correcting someone’s behaviour, to be effective you must look for common ground. Let’s look at some of the qualities we need to do that. First up, availability. Paul wrote: ‘I have voluntarily become a servant to…all…to reach a wide range of people.’ Discovering areas of common interest takes time. It also takes effort. It’s been reported that our average attention span when listening to someone is about 10 minutes. That’s hardly anything when it comes to having a meaningful conversation that allows us to discover common ground. Finding areas that we can agree on needs empathy and a willingness to listen to what the other person has to say. In her book How to Talk So People Listen, Sonya Hamlin reports that most people find this challenging because of the ‘Me-First Factor’. She writes: ‘Listening requires giving up our favourite human pastime – involvement in ourselves and our own self-interest. It’s our primary, entirely human focus. And it’s where our motivation to do anything comes from. With this as a base, can you see what a problem is created when we’re asked to listen to someone else?’ So, what’s the answer? First of all, we need to acknowledge and answer two of the listener’s instinctive, unspoken questions, which are: ‘Why should I listen to you?’ and ‘What’s in it for me if I let you get to know me?’ Anytime we’re willing to listen to people and think about how we can meet their needs, we’re already halfway towards the goal of finding common ground.


Don’t strike back Sunday 26 May
Train your brain Saturday 25 May
Stand on God’s Word (5) Friday 24 May
Stand on God’s Word (4) Thursday 23 May
Stand on God’s Word (3) Wednesday 22 May
Stand on God’s Word (2) Tuesday 21 May
Stand on God’s Word (1) Monday 20 May

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