Leave space to differ
Each of us sees the world through a different lens. This lens is shaped by our parents, our training, our friends and even strangers who unexpectedly appear in our lives. Like sunglasses that only allows some rays through, the lens through which we look at the world only lets certain rays through. That is why another person looking at the same picture sees something different from what I’m seeing.
A lecturer divided his students into two groups. He had a picture on which the faces of two women were interwoven. To the first group, the lecturer described the characteristics of a young woman. They all saw the young woman. To the other group he described the characteristics of an old woman. They could only see an old woman.
He then brought the two groups together with the instruction that each had to explain to the other what they saw in the picture. The one group could not see what the other group saw. Some became quite upset and even angry at one another. The one simply could not believe that the other could not see what they had seen. So simple and obvious.
In the same way, you and I can look at a picture or scripture from the Bible, but we may understand it differently. Sometimes discussions about what we see become so heated that we become angry. Families have broken up; friends have become enemies simply because they could not see one another’s pictures.
Paul is also aware of the fact that some of the people of Phillipa thought differently: 15So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! 16Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.
For some of the new Christians the customs of the Jewish religion were very important. Lots of energy was spent trying to defend their way of understanding. Now Paul pleads that they will not allow these things to knock them off their stride. They do realize that Jesus came to die for their sin and this is most important of all. The rest should never have such a great influence that it would knock them off their stride.
The same applies to us. With the social networks dominating everything, we are bombarded with too much information. Everyone wants to defend the way he or she sees things. Everyone believes he or she knows the only truth. At the end of the day it becomes so noisy that nobody can hear anybody else anymore and even bystanders turn away with a bad taste in the mouth.
Each one of us must realize that we’re wearing glasses and that we come to the party with many, many preconceived ideas. Maybe the one knows more of the truth than the other, who knows? That is why we must listen to the Father and be open to what they have to say.
But what now? Who knows more of the truth than the other? We must do exactly as Paul suggests: 15 … God will clear your blurred vision.
Be quiet in God’s presence. Ask Him to give you peace about the differences. In that way all of us can ensure that we stay on the right path and that the others who are watching us, feel up to walking with us.
How seriously do you take yourself?
Do you leave room for others?
Do you sometimes listen to the way they understand things?
Lord, there are many things I do not understand. Sometimes more question marks than exclamation marks. Please give me insight and wisdom to stay on the right track. Amen