Editor’s Corner: ‘Help me understand…’

Amy Forbus Editor, Arkansas United Methodist

Amy Forbus
Editor, Arkansas United Methodist

I’ve heard recently how these three words, when spoken in earnest, have the power to break through barriers.

“Help me understand…”

A friend makes a surprising decision. A generational difference lays bare a raw patch of long-ignored conflict. An unexpected revelation leads to confusion, and one person must reconsider what she thought she knew about someone else.

“How could you…?” “I just don’t get it.” We’ve all had responses like those. Though they may not be appropriate for speaking aloud in every situation, they do help us sort through our emotions when we receive information we don’t like.

When it’s time to engage, though, it may make sense to put those words aside, and instead ask for help from those whose perspectives may confuse us the most.

We may or may not have had training in holy conferencing (though the Arkansas Conference guide available at http://goo.gl/jnFDeY can be useful in any conversation, not just those about human sexuality).

But we do have training in being kind to one another; it’s a life-long course for people of faith. “Help me understand” is one tool I’ve learned can fasten a plank onto a bridge, rather than burning it.

To reach me, send an email to aforbus@arumc.org.