Hand in hand

Pastor Grasel, our Senior Chaplain at Ulbra, once mentioned a very interesting exercise learned in one of his master’s degree classes many years ago.

Choose two people with different or opposing opinions. Have them hold a discussion. One is republican, the other, democrat. One likes baseball, the other football. One is ‘pro-something’, the other just against. One likes Beatles, the other Rolling Stones.

Put them back to back. Challenge each one in his/her opinion. Observe what happens. You may notice that each one will try to appear as right and the other one as wrong. Like the good guy, bad guy routine.

After a while have them turn face to face. Have them hold hands. Encourage the discussion to continue.

If they agree on giving hands, nearly 100% of the time the mood will change. After taking each others hands the volume will lower, words will be less divisive and aggression will drop. Consideration and respect for each other will increase. Opinions will not necessarily change but the chances of a change in attitudes will be dramatically higher.

To discuss hand in hand. What an astonishing formula for a couple! What a surprising gesture for political opponents! What a respectful discussion between people with different points of view!

Okay. It’s true. Taking a stand on an issue means that we must be strong. Don’t speak quietly, be loud and firm. In today’s world confrontation leads to an argument, “I’ll show you how it is!” That makes sense in a media context where being noticed is what counts. Sometimes literally only seconds of arguing get the attention of the press.

Yes, maybe sometimes we need to be firm. But how about making these rare occasions? The standard could be to “discuss hand in hand.” Even if not literally, at least in our hearts. For this is beautiful example of using courage and consideration. Courage on what to say. Consideration of how to say it.

That’s exactly the way God treats us. He reprimands. Shows our sin. Reveals our imperfections. Nothing is hidden from Him. Yet He never lets go of our hands. He holds them tight so that we never need to doubt His Love in Christ. He deals with our needs in a way we can ‘discuss hand in hand’..
We can also be considerate loving our neighbors, having respect for their opinions, and above all having respect for each one as created and loved by God.

Whether in a literal or metaphorical sense…to discuss hand in hand…is the best way to have both individuals be the ‘good guys/gals’ at the end of the story.

Text revision:
Kim Starr, Deaconess Intern
St. Louis, MO, USA.
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