Perspective matters. And sometimes we forget that there is more than one.
In an age of virtual non-stop, often one-way communication, the competition to win disagreements is fierce. Unfortunately, the temptation to participate in group think social clusters makes hearing other points of view limited. The trade off of comfort for knowledge results is damaging. We decrease our understanding of God’s character and weaken our connections to one another. There is beauty in diversity.
Author Michael Kimpan shares his observations on the ways he sees Christians communicating with others who think differently than us. He calls these people the “others”. He writes, “We struggle to “put skin” on the words and message of Christ with anyone who thinks differently than us. Too often, we demand conformity prior to connection. When we approach one another as brothers and sisters—image bearers of the God we claim to serve—and celebrate what we have in common, we better position ourselves to participate in helpful dialogue in the midst of disagreement. ” https://relevantmagazine.com/current16/being-holy-age-being-right/
We naturally begin discussions out of our own narratives. It’s what we know. But what if we come to conversations in a posture of listening for the unknown? How would that action not only expand our view of our world but our own identity?
Listening does not require agreement. But it does require submission to pride, presumptions, time. We may walk away with unchanged minds but we also may recognize that we only saw part of a picture.
The photo up above? What’s your first guess? It’s actually an image of snow covered pine trees captured from above. But if your view of pine trees is usually ground level and in warmer temperatures, pine trees may look differently. Both images are accurate. Yet, awareness of landscapes outside of yours is necessary to see both.
We live in a vast world, with different landscapes, cultures, and experiences. May we open ourselves up rather than shutting others out. There’s much to learn if we change perspectives.
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