Finding common ground makes it easier to search and discover: "Just what does my faith say about this?"
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” ~ Rumi
Most religions adhere to the belief that human beings are meant to live in community with one another. The abundant religious variations of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” means both that we behave towards one another as we desire for ourselves, and that we are to also seek to forgive one another as we would seek to be forgiven.
This is in recognition that, regardless of how we feel about another person, or what may have been done to us, God is constantly calling on us to reconcile to and with one another. Part of the reconciliatory process is finding common ground—intentionally focusing on areas of agreement rather than areas of disagreement.
This does not mean that we ignore or deny differences, or shut out the reality of conflict or harm. Rather, we choose to begin our conversation towards peace and reconciliation by understanding where we share overlapping values and goals, and try to build from and around those. Over time, we discover that there are areas where we undo and displace disagreement and disconnect, which opposition would not have resolved.
We are to remember that for God, the point is not that we are right. The point, for as long as we can sustain in a healthy manner, is to be in relationship. This takes practice. Ready?
Seeking common ground often means that we have to first begin working to address our personal barriers to listening to and hearing from the others at the table. The following are ways to begin that work: