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RESOURCE CENTER AND ARCHIVES

The power of the negativecomment (0)

May 6, 2010

By Jean Roberson


EDITOR’S NOTE — The Alabama Baptist staff is happy to introduce a new women’s column to the state Baptist paper. This new column will focus on resources women can use in their lives of faith, whether lived out at home, in the workplace or in the church. The columnist is Jean Roberson, MSW, LCSW — a ministry consultant for national Woman’s Missionary Union. She serves as team leader for the adult team and as director of Christian Women’s Job Corps/Christian Men’s Job Corps and International Initiatives. The column will run the first issue of each month beginning with the June 3 issue. Until then, we will run the column each week as a way of introduction to this new segment of the paper. 

I love it when people agree with me. Don’t you? 

You have an idea or a perspective that you share, and everyone agrees and supports you in the course of action. It is a great moment. Unfortunately I do not think this has ever happened to me. I honestly cannot think of one time when I presented something and everyone agreed with me. It seems that there is always at least one person who disagrees or sees my idea as a mistake. 

If you are like me, then your tendency is to drift toward those who agree with you.

Think about it. When you are working on a project, whether at work or in church, whom do you bring alongside to assist you? Is it someone who agrees with your idea or someone who disagrees?

Have you ever caught yourself thinking, “Well, I’m not going to ask her because I know she already thinks it is a bad idea”?

Unfortunately when we do this, we miss the refining power of the negative.

Though I hate to admit it, someone who disagrees with me may have good reason. That person may see obstacles that have to be overcome in order to be successful. If I do not take the time to really listen to that person, then I may miss some important steps. Furthermore if I can address the concerns and win that person over, then I may find that others follow suit. 

Years ago, I was in a church that was considering a benevolence ministry. I was excited about it and saw it as a way to minister to the community. So as we began putting together a committee, I made suggestions to the pastor for committee members, all of whom thought it was a good idea. The pastor had a few other suggestions, including two people who were opposed to the idea. 

In my mind, having two committee members who were opposed meant that our committee would go nowhere. To my surprise, once I really listened, I found their concerns to be very legitimate. They correctly identified issues that had to be resolved in order for us to be successful. Truthfully the outcome was stronger because those two were involved. 

Taking time to work with and discuss issues with those who disagree with you is a critical step. This is true at home, at work, at church — in all areas of our lives. Instead of seeing those who disagree as hindrances, perhaps we need to see them as resources and seek their involvement.

A Takeaway Value …
Talk to people who disagree with you to discover why they disagree. Be prepared to learn and be stronger because of it.

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