Forget the farce of trying to be a blank slate. Not happening. We have expectations, and we always will.
So, when we interact, we should be up front about expectations.
Waiting for others to share theirs first results in a lot of staring and little talking. We should help ourselves - and others - by being willing to share our expectations and hear what others have to say about them.
Are they reasonable?
Are they fair?
Are they consistent with Scripture?
A friend recently shared the difference between a peacekeeper and a peacemaker. Peacekeepers want peace at any cost... so any disagreement or conflict is contrary to their purpose. This results in staying in the shallow end of relationships. A peacemaker will help people on different sides of a conflict understand each others’ point of view, and find biblical common ground to build on. The peacemaker also recognizes that there will never be resolution of everything, so there will always be some disagreement among folks who leave the shallow end and go out deeper in relationships. Together, we can go deeper in Christ, and with each other, without combat.
Attention more mature disciples of Jesus: this is a key area of responsibility and opportunity for you! As “parents” in the family of God, you must model the grace of God in action when differences emerge between people. We never sacrifice truth to appease egos, but we don’t light sincere questioners on fire either. We seek truth above all, while maintaining mutual respect for each other. Elders, create a safe environment for people to ask questions, to seek answers... to learn and grow as they follow Jesus.
The question is, what are your expectations of others? Of yourself? Are you willing to be the imperfect example as you simply follow Jesus with others today?