What do you see in the featured image? A duck or a rabbit?
Both images are right . . . and this got me thinking.
Why is it that people are close-minded? You know the type — it’s their way or the high way.
It’s one thing to have convictions; it’s another to be plain stubborn about the non-essentials in life. We miss out on so much when we refuse to listen to and learn from alternative and creative perspectives.
Reminds me of a story I tell in my book, Sisters in the Son.
Many years ago, some friends of ours were having some trouble in their marriage – communication problems. They asked my husband and I to come to their house, spend some time with them and listen to the way that they interacted with each other. It was a bit of an odd request but my experiences had taught me that fresh eyes and ears often provide much needed insight and a different perspective . . . so off we went!
When we first arrived, the four of us were just catching up with family news. We had recently moved so our friends inquired about our neighbourhood. My husband began describing the area and said something like, “Well, we live in a new neighbourhood so there aren’t many trees.” I was puzzled by his description and quickly responded with, “What do you mean? There are lots of trees in our neighbourhood.” An awkward silence followed. It was particularly ironic, since we were there to help this other couple with communication and at this particular moment, my husband and I were completely disconnected.
The reality was that we were both right. We had moved to a relatively new neighbourhood so there weren’t many established trees in the front of our house BUT we backed onto a thick forest lined with old, majestic trees. My husband was looking out the front window and I was looking out the back window. Same neighbourhood…same house…different windows.
I remember that experience like it was yesterday because it was a pivotal moment for me.
The Bible is very clear about certain issues. God has given us some absolute truths to live by and there is no room for opinion – they are non-negotiable. However, there are also many “gray” areas in life and as we grow spiritually, we begin to develop personal convictions about lifestyle. We may feel very passionate about our choices but the danger is when we communicate our personal convictions about negotiable issues as the only right way. In doing so, there is judgment. We do not extend grace. We fail to love others well and we ignore the reality that God often uses other people to challenge and to help us look at life from a different window.
Wisdom frees us to differentiate between absolute truth and personal opinion.
It’s wise to ask questions like:
What personal convictions of mine are biblical and which ones are cultural?
Are there always two sides to the story? Why or why not?
On a scale from 1-10 (1 being not important at all and 10 being very important), how important is it that I express my perspective strongly to “win” an argument?
Remember . . the word, “listen” has the same letters as “silent.” We can learn so much by listening to others — it’s all about perspective.
Listen and discern.
Speak truth – Do not deceive yourself. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.
1 Corinthians 3. 18,19a NIV