There Is Common Ground


Yes, there is common ground. Though it may seem harder and harder to believe. There is always common ground.

Yesterday I attended a large ceremony at my son's high school preparing for his graduation next month. A history teacher was awarded Class Teacher of the Year. He gave a great speech (including a lot of American history). He said at one point, "You know, whatever side of the aisle you are on, every politician is in the arena trying to make our country better. Give them the benefit of the doubt." In our climate, it felt like a very generous thing to say. It's hard to give the benefit of the doubt and look for common ground in politics.

I was also privileged to take part in a five-day intensive leadership course this week with classmates very different from myself. I was partnered with one in particular who is different from me in almost every way--so much so that she and I both said we thought the leaders put us together just to see if we would clash! But it didn't take long to form a friendship. Part of it, we later realized, was that we were both people of high emotional intelligence. We felt what was happening emotionally in the group in ways others can't easily perceive. We are opposites on the spectrum in almost every way...but now we are friends.

There is always something to offer common ground, if we will only search for it. 

Common Interests -- find one interest you share. Keep searching with good humor until you catch it.

Common Goals -- even when you work for very different organizations, you may find you have similar goals for growing in leadership, effectiveness, influence, self-awareness, fitness, or growth of your staff. 

Common Good -- you may just find you have very similar dreams for the common good. What does it mean for everyone in your city to thrive? You may run a church or a firehouse or a city government office. You'd be surprised how much you overlap in vision and passion when you start to name the common good.

Church leaders, we have to learn how to find the common ground. Remember, the message we have to share is the good news of the fathomless love of God in Jesus Christ. This good news has to be communicated. Communication doesn't happen among strangers or opponents. It happens within friendship. Friendship is formed when people stand on common ground.

There is always common ground. Look for it. Build on it. It's worth the search to find.