Monday, November 1, 2010

so... what if you're wrong?

why are we so quick to assume that we are right  and everyone else is wrong? why do we act like we have cornered the market on what is true? why do we think our interpretation is the correct one or better yet, the only one? why do we demonize those with differing opinions?

here's a question...

what if we're wrong?

seriously...what if WE are wrong? what if there are many ways to look at a situation? what if what we thought was black and white turns out to be a beautiful shade of gray? what if there are multiple interpretations of the same text? what if those people who have different opinions are not evil, angry people with agendas?


according to research by dave kinneman and gabe lyons in unchristian, christians have an image problem. i'm not surprised by this. i've known it for quite some time. outsiders to christianity between the ages of 16 and 29 were asked about their perceptions of christianity and its followers. here's what they found:

91% see christians as anti-homosexual.
87% see christians as judgmental
85% see christians as hypocritical
78% see christians as sheltered (old-fashioned, out of touch with reality)
75% see christians as too political
70% see christians as proselytizers (insensitive to others, not genuiune)

surprised at how we're perceived?

the one i want to concentrate on is the stat about christians being judgmental. it doesn't surprise me. i used to be very judgmental. i was taught to be. it was considered  a christian virtue in the legalistic circles in which i operated.

and then one day, i had a moment. perhaps it was my own version of the damascus experience that the apostle paul had. WHAT IF I'M WRONG? my whole perspective changed. i began to question everything.  i realized that i had judged people unfairly. i realized that i taken on an attitude that i was somehow superior to others because of what i didn't do, because of what i considered sin. i realized that i didn't hold a monopoly on truth.

i could curse those who believe differently from myself.  why not ask questions and learn from them instead?

i could state emphatically that what i believe is correct and that others' interpretations are in error. why not listen to the opinions of others? why not be open to the fact that i could be wrong or that they could have a valid point?

i could demonize others for pointing out that what i've believed all along has fallacies. why not thank them for their courage to challenge the status quo?

here's the point...we need to listen more and judge less. we need to celebrate our diversity. diversity is beautiful. we need to respect each other more. i've heard it almost a million times it seems...people don't care how much we know until they know how much we care. we earn the right to share our opinions when first we've listened and respectfully acknowledged the opinions of others.

so...what if you're wrong?

1 comment:

Pete Ahlstrom said...

Hmmm. Good comments, good qualities to work for.

I'll admit it. I WAS wrong. Once. (OK, my wife says twice. She's probably right. Am just not sure when that was. But I'm sure I've been wrong about once more than David.)

Keep up the good work.