I’ve been a long time fan of Scott McKnight’s work and teaching ministry. He’s one of the best at connecting both heart and mind, activity and the intellect, into sincere Kingdom living. Here he addresses how we are to begin our interpretations others. Whether we are reading someone, listening to someone, or interacting with Christ Himself through the sacred Scriptures, our interpretations must begin with a sincere kindness and consideration for one sending the information.
To love a person is to listen to them, and to let their voice speak. To listen to a person is to let that person’s world enter into our world. When the latter happens we choose either to enhance our own life with the other person or, as Cain did to Abel, we destroy that other person to make them what we want ourselves. To treat them with love and trust is to let them be the Eikons God made them to be; to refuse to trust them and love them is to make them a golden calf which we can hammer down into our own image.
We have no other real options. Genuine interpretation begins with loving the other.