Caring for each other – a personal checklist

Reflections for those who participate1

  1. Am I willing to engage in respectful discussion with those with a different opinion from me, instead of wanting to impose upon them my point of view? Am I able to do this?
  2. In my heart, do I regard those who disagree with me on this topic as my brothers and sisters in God’s family, brought together by His grace? Do I truly love them as Christ loves me?
  3. Am I willing to consider this issue from the point of view of the person with whom I disagree?
  4. Do I genuinely believe that, though I disagree with another person, I will nevertheless defend their right to believe what they do as fellow believers who live in the grace of God?
  5. Am I able to view other people’s opinions on this issue, not as right or wrong in relation to mine, but simply different from mine, as we explore God’s Word together?
  6. Am I willing for my heart touched by the pain people experience around this question?
  7. Am I genuinely able to reach out to a hurting person who has a different belief from me, and offer them care and support?
  8. Am I aware of my capacity to inflict hurt on another person, and my capacity to make them feel unsafe? Do I have sufficient personal checks within me to ensure this does not happen – and to redress it if it does?
  9. ‘I do not consider that a person who believes differently from me on this question is in danger of divine condemnation.’ Is this true for me?
  10. Do I recognise that my beliefs are formed and influenced not only by my understanding of scripture, theology, and church, but also by my personality, prejudices, and life experiences?
  11. Do I pray for those who believe differently from me on this issue – not that they will be converted to my viewpoint, but that they and I will be blessed as we work together on it?
  12. Do I want to see our church reach a God-pleasing decision which respects the integrity and faith of all those who are engaged in this debate?

Reflections after a dialogue session

  1. What have I learned today? (…about, for example, beliefs, other people, myself, etc.)
  2. How have I listened today, and how well have I heard:
    with my attitude?
    with my heart?
    with my ears?
    with my mouth?
  3. Do I feel that I have been listened to, and heard?
  4. What could I do better next time?

Reflections for those who are theologians.

  1. Do I respect the theological ability of those with whom I disagree, rather than regard them as people who are theologically and biblically inferior to me?

Reflections for those who are leaders.

  1. Am I aware of my God-given responsibility to model Christ’s love in all circumstances?
  2. Have I addressed my own tendency to want to be right and to diminish others who do not agree with me?
  3. Am I sensitive to the potential I have been given to heal and not to harm?
  4. Am I willing to have my own fears and prejudices on this matter uncovered and confronted (addressed)?

1 These personal reflections are provided to help us engage with open and caring hearts so that each participant can feel confident in saying what he/she thinks without suppressing it because of an unhealthy fear of confrontation or personal attack. A personal attitude that others see as caring and considerate strengthens our joint resolve to seek a common understanding on the issue before us. This checklist is not intended to replace honest discussion on the Scriptural truth or otherwise of individual points of view.

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