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Building Better Relationships — Week 3 Reflections

August 3, 2006

This week’s chapter of our Bible study was titled “Honoring One Another.” I thought it was a very “meaty” chapter, with a lot of though-provoking questions and commentary. Unfortunately, when we met to discuss it, the discussion got sidetracked on to other matters and we never really managed to get back to talking about what the book said. (This is the main reason why I’m blogging about the book — I feel like an introspective summary would be of benefit, but our group discussions tend to wander away from the topic at hand.)

Anyway, I should have known I was in for a doozy of a chapter when on the first page I read this statement: “Acknowledging failures isn’t fun, but the first step toward change is realizing where we are failing.” Uh oh.

Probably the most profound thing I read in this chapter is an excellent reason why we should honor others: “We honor all women and men because we are original, one-of-a-kind masterpieces, created by the Master Artist of the universe in His image. When we honor others, we are honoring their Creator. When we dishonor others, we dishonor God.” Wow. Talk about putting things into perspective!

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The second half of the chapter concentrated on our verbal interactions with others. The author writes, “When we listen without interrupting, when we stay focused on the subject the speaker has introduced instead of turning the conversation on ourselves and what we want to talk about, we honor the other person. You may be amazed at how difficult it is to learn to listen to understand, instead of listening for the moment when you can interrupt and speak.”

We did discuss this a little bit. All of us admitted that we often turned the conversation back to ourselves, not necessarily out of a need for attention or disrespect toward the other person, but more often because we were trying to show empathy or contribute to the conversation in some way. The above statement has given us a lot to think about and work on!

The author also wrote about “The Three Q Test” which essentially is asking someone three questions before saying, “I” or “we.” Why should we do this? Because one of the best ways to honor someone is to show a genuine interest in what the speaker is saying.

And then there are our responses. She lists four ways in which we reveal disrespect for others by the way we respond to them:

1. We reject another’s feelings and tell the speaker he/she has no right to feel the way that he/she does.

2. We challenge the speaker’s perception of a controversial issue.

3. We give cliche answers to a speaker’s problem.

4. We fail to use “The Three Q Test”

The action items we were left with was to ask ourselves whether we pick and choose the people whom we honor, and if we listen with our answers running through our heads or if we listen to understand.

This is something I need to work on and hope to improve!

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One comment

  1. Great post! I have to say, that is something I have to work on as well.

    I know myself, that I do choose who I respect and honor, and it’s probably on an unfair scale. I’m a good listener though… as long as I am talking to one of the people I respect. Yeah, not good!

    Definitely something I need to work on…



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