41 min
By: ENC Leaders

Episode 21: How To Stop Taking Sides

In the last episode of ENC Leadership Podcast, it was a great treat for everyone to hear from the author of “Stop Taking Sides” himself, Adam Mabry. In this episode, we will look into some applications to avoid taking sides.

Play on:

1:53 – Why avoiding to take sides is important:

  • Taking sides limits our options
  • Taking sides causes more harm than good
  • Taking sides diminishes our view of God

7:13 – Adam Mabry’s point in the book is that God’s Word is written for us to know God and in the process to become like Him, producing virtue in our lives. 

God’s Word is for our transformation, not our information.

In the book “Stop Taking Sides”, Adam made a diagram, a circle divided into four equal parts, to explain how we are called to virtue despite our tendencies to lean on different sides. 

The left and the right side of the circle show us being more open, where we are leaning to include more people, and being closed where we exclude other people. 

The top and bottom of the circle, shows our tendencies of becoming more judgemental, where we become more critical and care more about the facts, and on the other hand being more intuitive which is feelings and sensing things through. 

All these things are good starting points but leaning on one side alone will not lead us to Christian virtue. 

People who are Open need to learn more Clarity.

People who are Closed need to learn more Listening.

People who Intuit (feel) things need to learn Argument (careful articulation of truth).

People who Judge things need to embrace the Mystery of God 

The point is, the learning is for our transformation. Remember, it’s for your transformation.

11:51 – How to avoid being pushed into a side (or being forced to take a side)

12:52 – 1. Reframe the conversation

“Reframing rightsizes someone’s anxiety by inviting the person to see the same situation in a more nuanced, more accurate way. Reframing is a difficult balance because it can feel like manipulation, but the best reframing is offered to someone out of care. It doesn’t dismiss his or her fear; it just more accurately captures the situation.” (Cuss, Steve. Managing Leadership Anxiety (p. 137). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.)

Example from the Bible: Paying taxes to Caesar (Mark 12:13-17)

  • Jesus did not mention the word taxes. He reframed the words or phrases.
  • WORDS matter.
  • Don’t be trapped in the choices people give you.

Another example from the Bible: Marriage (Matthew 19:3-6)

  • Jesus went back to the original intent of God for marriage.
  • The people started in the law of Moses but Jesus brought them further back to the beginning, the original design of God for marriage. Jesus reframed the conversation.

21:32 – 2. Redefine the terms of engagement to surer footing

Don’t let other people’s definition of words automatically be yours. Think about those definitions and look at the premise of it.

Here’s an example from the Bible: Sadducees Ask About the Resurrection (Matthew 22:23-29)

  • The premise is wrong. Did you spot the wrong premise?
  • Jesus answered them, You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.”
  • The wrong premise of the Sadducees was that they thought that they would be given into marriage even in resurrection the way it was on earth. That was their assumption. 

If you are forced to choose between two hard things, ask yourself, why are these options so hard? What are the wrong premises in these? Use questions. 

26:56 – 3. Refrain from negative engagement

Another story from the Bible where they tested Jesus again (John 8:5-7)

  • A woman who was caught in adultery was brought to Jesus.
  • Jesus was put into a difficult position, but he did not answer and just bent down and wrote something on the ground. And there are different theories about it. 
  • Many of us Christians are tempted to say something now––to make a statement for different reasons.

Are they after healthy engagement or a soundbite?

Social media don’t always need to have your say. Not every issue requires your comment. Not every issue requires your position on it. This is applicable not only in your social media but also in your relationships. Not everything needs to be engaged. Not every offense needs to be talked about. Refrain from negative engagement.

32:28 – 4. Remember who you are

False dichotomies have a tendency to reduce your entire personhood to your position on a controversial issue.

Remember your allegiance. You are loyal to Jesus Christ. 

You are a Christian first…

  • More than a political party

Adam Mabry wrote: “Put simply, if you’re more conservative (or progressive) than you are a Christian, you’re not actually a Christian. If you can quote Burke and Limbaugh, Marx and Bernie, but struggle to locate the book of Malachi, you’ll need to rethink your priorities. If you feel more commonality with a non-Christian who shares your politics than a Christian who disagrees with them, you have a problem. And if you hold politicians you oppose to a different standard than those you support, then let’s call it what it is: unjust hypocrisy. These are all signs that you’ve got more political purity than biblical fidelity.

  • More than your NBA team. More than your favorite KDrama. More than your local church. 

Remember your objective.

37:06 – 5. Remain Humble

Remind yourself…

  • You don’t have the whole picture.
  • You don’t have perfect knowledge.
  • You don’t need to have the final say.
  • You don’t always need to make your point.

The goal is love. 

Visit: https://www.stoptakingsides.org/

The ENC Leadership Podcast is hosted by Joseph Bonifacio.

Find the right resource for you