A note from Chris: Guest writer Dr. Deb Douglas, minister to women at First Baptist Church, Bossier City, La., has served women for many years in various settings, where her lessons always bless others. Read her perspective on discerning who is right or wrong in a situation.
By Dr. Deb Douglas
Today, I heard the same story from three people. Each telling was wildly different from the others. It was like a flashback to the game of “Gossip.” The tellers were not aiming to deceive; they all saw the same event from a unique perspective. Unfortunately the three perspectives collided into a confrontation with each participant adamantly believing in rightness of their version of the story.
As I sit de-stressing and ponder the events of today, I am thankful for the day many years ago that I learned I could be wrong. Mind you, I am not talking about theology; the Scriptures do not change because of how we think about them. I’m talking about the freedom that comes from understanding that anyone’s perspective of things in life could be wrong. We can’t all be right. From the simple things such as who has the best ice (Sonic or Chick-fil-a?) to more complicated things like homeschooling versus public education, or which makes a bigger difference in women’s lives: big events with a lot of flash or small intimate events where women can connect.
Realizing that I can be wrong took the pressure off me to always be right! It also helped me understand that I need to know all the facts before I make a decision. Understanding the nature of perspectives helps with the inevitable conflicts among women, keeping me from jumping in with an opinion before the truth is discovered. One person’s story is just one side. There are more facts out there waiting to be discovered before I make a decision about who is right, who is wrong, or where the truth lies.
Back to the three stories — which was the real story? The truth was a mixture. The collision of these three stories could have been a train wreck. Thankful this was avoided with a little intervention. When handling a conflict with mixed perspectives, remember:
Stop. Before forming an opinion about who is right, realize one person’s perspective rarely tells the whole story.
Look. Look for the truth. Take the time to discover what the true story is.
Listen. Everyone likes to be heard. Often when we hear ourselves talking, we realize our perspective has faults within it.
Helping women see the perspective of others can take time and prayer, but the reward is great — conflict avoided, relationships restored, and visions expanded. The mesh of all of our perspectives makes the world an interesting place!
Dr. Deb Douglas strives to live drama free as she serves as minister to women at First Baptist Church, Bossier City, La., where she also leads Hope Ministry, a ministry to those impacted by a cancer diagnosis. Also a LifeWay Women’s Ministry Multipliers, Deb launched her first women’s Bible study at the age of 20. Her passion is encouraging and equipping women to serve. She is a conference/retreat speaker, strategic planning consultant, freelance writer and contributor to Transformed Lives: Taking Women’s Ministry to the Next Level. Deb graduated from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary with a Masters of Arts in Christian Education/Women’s Ministry and a Doctor of Education in Ministry degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. She is the wife of Paul, mom of Jared and Katie, mother-in-law to Emily and grandmother to Caroline.