We understand the concern that to talk about spiritual things in an insensitive way can be off putting, creating a barrier of religiosity. However, we have found that most people are eager to talk about themselves and what really matters to them. When we have a conversation with someone new, we easily can say something simple like, “Tell me about yourself”; or, “Tell me who you really are”; or, “What’s important to you?”
If they share some of their story, we simply listen. We listen as if we have all the time in the world. We listen on behalf of all the times we have failed to listen in the past.
Then we share with them something of who we are. Perhaps we say something like, “I don’t know if this might be true for you, but I have found that I sometimes have trouble being who I want to be and living what I want to live. I don’t know about your life, but mine has had a lot of brokenness in it and I find myself struggling with feeling loved. I need others for support: One of the things that has helped me is a group I’m in where we’re trying to learn how to love and be loved. Would something like that be of interest to you?” You’ll be surprised how often people respond gratefully to this sort of encounter and invitation.
Regardless of what we say in these moments, it is our presence, experienced through our deep listening and our willingness to reveal something genuine about ourselves, that matters most, Our acceptance conveys God’s acceptance. What happens next is God’s business, not ours. Our task is to be available and to see each other the way God sees us to see how we look in God’s eyes. Looking at each other that way evokes that true nature in us. Who wouldn’t want to be around people like that?