Let me give you an example.
We have two people. Both of them are working in ministry. Both of them get free tickets to a big ministry leadership conference. Both are eager to go. Both end up not being able to attend because of financial difficulties.
The first person has a good job. They have a house, two cars, a loving spouse and 2.4 kids. They have a great small group, they get extra income from a project they’ve been working on and their kid scored the winning touchdown in their pee-wee game this week. While they’re disappointed they can’t attend they take it in stride because of all the other blessings within their life.
The second person is unemployed. They have an apartment they’re struggling to keep. They have a car with 200,000 miles on it. They have a spouse who’s irritated with their trying to get a ministry off the ground in the hours they aren’t looking for a job. Their children have special needs and it’s very stressful sometimes because of their medical conditions. They haven’t really connected at their church and in their time of need their church really hasn’t helped them with as much as a single bag of groceries. Winning the chance to go to the conference seemed like a golden ray of light in a really dark time. Not being able to go seems like God’s slapping them in the face again.
The two people face the same situation but will have completely different perspectives. If you were to interact with either one about not attending the conference you would get two entirely different reactions.
Now imagine we’re in a place where these people ask for our advice. We see it through our perspective. In our example, our perspective could be different than those of our two examples. The possibilities of miscommunication increases because of the differing perspectives.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t bring our perspectives to situations but I think it’s very important that we take into account the perspective of the people who are facing a situation. Once we understand why they’re reacting in a particular way, we can adjust the way we communicate with them.
A little effort at the beginning can save a lot of time and trouble. In the end, it helps us reach our goal of being a source of wisdom and comfort when someone is facing a challenge.