An earlier post shared an in depth video by Rosaria Butterfield regarding her testimony and view of hospitality in a time when there is great division. (Rosaria: Bridging the Divide)
Here is a simple, straightforward complement to that. This is about your initial reaction when a friend or family member shares something that is radically different from your own beliefs. How do you respond? This applies to many topics, not just the example she is asked about…
What other examples might this approach apply to? Certainly in all the different paradigms of sexuality and gender fluidity. Also, maybe something like, “I’ve been seeing somebody else” (from a married person). “I’ve gotten myself in some (legal) trouble, I’ve been _______________” There are others. We will never be expecting to hear these types of things from friends and family. We will be caught off guard so we better prepare now when we watch a video like this.
Notice Rosaria’s simple instinct: Thank You. Thank you for trusting me. Thank you for knowing I’m a safe person. Thank you for honoring our friendship.
Then, ASK good questions. How can I help? How can I be a good friend?
Obviously their answers to those questions may not be things we can do or support, but this approach lays the groundwork for being a true friend in a difficult time when caught off guard. So, when this happens to you, remember: THANK YOU & ASK.