As we start the countdown towards Thanksgiving and Christmas, there’s one part that we sometimes dread in the midst of these happy holidays: Conversations Around the Table.
Maybe it’s your Aunt, who has a firm view about politics and is eager to engage everyone in her debate over turkey. Or it could be that friend your Uncle brings to Christmas dinner - you know the one - who has a heated opinion about vaccines and conspiracies? It would be easy if we could just smile and move to another room to avoid conflict, but sometimes we are sitting just across the table and feel indigestion happening before the first bite of stuffing is swallowed.
We’ve had a few years of divisiveness in our country and no end of topics that continue to divide instead of unite us. Many times, I find myself leaving casual conversations with an unease about the sharing. Did I state my personal opinion as fact? Or did I ‘sell out’ my beliefs by not speaking up at all? As I’ve prayed about conversations we might have this holiday season with family or friends, I want a better strategy than just ‘avoid and redirect’.
So I went to the expert on loving others - Jesus - and His words reminded me of the goal: “This is my commandment, that you should love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:12-13
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
Ouch! He didn’t say love those who think like you or love those you like to be around. Jesus said to love one another, love each other. I think that means everyone. So now that I’m reminded of the goal, I think I need a strategy on how to have conversation around the table and love others well. These are the steps He has given me:
These are some general principles we can apply in having loving conversations around the table. Want a more tangible example and a template you can make fit your personal scenario? Download this guide to help you prepare for more loving conversations this holiday season!