I had no clue what it was like to be a woman until I asked some women. In my research for an upcoming sermon, I asked over a dozen sisters in the faith, “What is it like to be a woman in church?”
The answers floored me. A few women shared stories of incredible men who empowered them, listened to them, and valued them. Too many others, however, wrote pages and pages (and pages) about the men who ignored them, belittled them, and treated them as second-class Christians. Their answers were not a cry to throw out those passages about the unique callings God has given, for example, to husbands and wives (Ephesians 5:22-33). Rather, they were a cry for women to be included. To be consulted. To be loved.
Those emails reminded me of some incredible wisdom from Jesus’ brother James: “Everyone should be quick to listen” (1:19). It is so easy to assume we understand another person or group’s situation, which is why James encourages us to assume that we don’t. Instead, ask questions, listen well, and learn from what you hear.
There are people whose lives you do not understand. It might be the man you married. Or your smartphone-clutching grandkids. Or the neighbors whose skin color is different from yours. Perhaps you could do some research this week and ask them what their lives are like. Be quick to listen, and God will fill you with wisdom.