Friday, October 21, 2016

Locked in

Do you remember the first time you heard your own voice on a recording? We are always surprised at how different we sound to ourselves. After our initial surprise, we learn that we hear our voices from inside our heads when we speak, and the sound waves are received differently than when we hear it from the outside, thus the difference.

We view the world through our own minds and experiences. One person looks at a spider and screams, and another sees an interesting specimen to inspect close up. One person contemplates with excitement jumping out of a plane with a parachute on his back, and the other sees it as the potential for a quick death. We can see the world through our own view, and it's work for us to see things from outside of ourselves.

As Christians, part of learning humility is understanding that we are not the centre of the universe. It is likely that we will come across other Christians who will look at the exact same situation and come to different conclusions. That may trouble us, because we want to be united with our brothers and sisters in Christ. But it is a reality we have to come to grips with. I grew up in a particular family, with a particular set of experiences, but those were not prototypical. I am not prototypical. The only person who can see every side of every person, issue, or situation is God himself. To cultivate humility, we have to recognize our limitations, and we have to begin with who God is.

A couple of weeks ago, in my theology class, we were discussing the attributes of God, and we looked at God's holiness. God is infinite, eternal, and unchanging in holiness (Ps. 99:9; Is. 6:1-7; Hab. 1:12-13; I Pet. 1:14-15). In our discussion, Dr. F. reminded us that God's holiness means above all, his separateness. He is unlike anything else (Jer. 10:6; Is. 45:5; Ps. 86:8). He is unlike us; so very unlike us, despite the reality that we are made in his image. Because he us unlike us, he does not struggle to see through the eyes of another person the way we do. He is omniscient and omnipresent; he sees all. We are locked inside a specific time and place and, unfortunately, locked inside our own perception. Pride becomes an issue when we can't recognize this limitation.

The good news is that the benefit of being in Christ, in being one with this amazing, holy God, is the ability to draw upon the Holy Spirit, and work toward humility. If we pray to God and ask for empathy and the ability to be sympathetic to another view, he will help us. And sometimes, we must simply recognize that we will not always agree with one another, and it doesn't mean that we are compromising the truth.

As parents of adult children, this is an important principle to learn. Despite our desire to see our children embrace everything we have taught them, there is always the possibility that they may not agree, and will take a different view. Our adult children may have different eschatological views, or different views on worship, or the age of the earth. There are times when we have to allow them to have views that differ from ours, and even have the humility to really try to understand where they are coming from. Humility is essential in the home.

I wish I could say that I don't struggle with the desire to be right all the time. It is a ongoing process for me to let things go. I don't desire to compromise my faith, obviously, but part of exercising humility is being open to listening to the views of others. I must begin with God. It is only when we see who is compared to who we are that we can begin to cultivate humility.

1 comment:

  1. This is so true, and so apt right now, with all the political opinions floating around (or maybe something less graceful, like racketing around)!

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