I once thought along hard lines. If you pushed against one of those lines, I pushed back. If your thinking did not fit inside my lines, it was wrong and you were wrong. I believed in absolute truth. There was no margin for error. If my truth was in error, I was in error, and maybe all of Christendom. I had to hold the fort and hold it I did.
I admired the sharp lines of my thinking. I sought to perfect those lines with study. I read all that supported my thinking and nothing that would threaten it. Then one day I ran into people. These people became my friends. And these friends thought differently than me. These friends were good strong Christians, yet they did not see the world the same as I.
I came face to face with a dilemma. I could either go on thinking I had the corner market on truth and those who disagreed with me were somehow less Christian than I, or I could put my thinking under the microscope. I wrestled with this dilemma for a while. I tried harder to prove my way of seeing the world was right and superior.
It’s an emotional experience to feel your thinking become less confident. I held on tighter. My arguments were charged with emotion. I grasped for the boulders I thought I built my thinking on only to find sand slipping through my fingers.
My salvation was secure, but my thinking needed an overhaul. The Holy Spirit came to my rescue. I began to learn about truth in a new way. I relaxed. I realized that I was not appointed to lead people into all truth as that was the job of the Holy Spirit. My hard lines softened considerably. Absolute truth became something God is, and not something I have mastered.
Through this process I learned how to grow in truth. When I think I already know the truth in its fullest expression, I cannot repent. Repentance is a lifelong endeavor. If I already think rightly I cannot obey God and repent for repentance means changing the way I think. It means exchanging my thoughts for His thoughts.
To do so, I have to hold my way of thinking loosely enough to learn a new way. I may have a blurry piece to add to the puzzle, but if I think my blurry piece is the whole puzzle, I’m stuck with only the piece. Then I am basing my thinking about the whole on this little smudged piece. I want to be one who lets God clean off the smudges and show me how I can connect it to the pieces others have so that we can all see more of the puzzle.
Now I enjoy listening to all sorts of different perspectives. You never know where you will find a new puzzle piece. Sometimes I find one in the most interesting people. I’ve found that God hides his most important truths in the most offensive packages. If we stumble over the packaging, we will miss the hidden treasure God put there. I enjoy talking to people from all kinds of different backgrounds and worldviews. I no longer worry about proving my point. If we can exchange ideas and grow closer to the truth on a matter I am all for it. If I run into a wall you’ve erected around your thinking, I respect it. Now I look forward to those moments where I get to change my thinking because someone brought me a new piece or helped me clean off one of mine.
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