A Roomful of People Like That
There is always a degree of discomfort in coming up against opinions that differ from our own. It's natural—and perfectly human—to bristle just a little when our perspectives are challenged by someone with a different point of view.
It can also be extremely healthy. Especially in the context of spiritual discussion, where God may use us to sharpen each other's understanding or push us in certain directions. I'm very thankful for the biblical fellowship I've been blessed enough to share recently, and for the awesome (and extremely civil) debates we've had about the nitty-gritty facets of the faith.
It's funny, but I've experienced the opposite as well—the Bible study where everyone is afraid to disagree. We timidly offer our thoughts, congratulate everyone, and hesitate to speak up when we feel that someone may need correction, which means that we might need correction and don't know it. That kind of context isn't conducive to biblical discussion in any kind of depth, because we don't learn anything new. We don't teach each other anything. No one is challenged to examine their views, to make sure they're entirely consistent with Scripture, because no one wants to be the one to say, "Hmm, actually, I think I might disagree . . ."
That's not to say it isn't comfortable. Of course it's much easier to put myself out there when I know no one around the table will challenge me if I'm off-track. We can go on eating our snacks and nodding sagely at every point raised, and leave with the same insights we came with—unrevised and unenhanced.
We can agree to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, as Paul advises in Colossians 3:16. Note the part about teaching and admonishing: part of Christian fellowship is enjoying each other's company, but another part is helping one another to keep our compass needles pointed straight and true, to Christ. In love, we are called to instruct one another out of the Scriptures; in love, we are called to seek the wisdom of our brothers and sisters in Christ. In love, we are called to be humble enough to stand corrected, to be challenged, and to take it in stride, allowing it to strengthen our relationships instead of aggravating our pride.
Yes, it takes maturity, and it comes with some discomfort. But it's also a great way to learn and grow in Christ. Sometimes others' views will be wrong; sometimes ours will be. The bottom line is, we should all be learning and growing and digging into the Word and seeking God's instruction in order to strengthen and sharpen one another with the wisdom we gain from Him.
Don't be afraid of a little friendly debate, especially if it's done in love. Seek the truth with your whole heart, read every question through the lens of Scripture, ask God for understanding, and allow yourself to be challenged. You don't have to force people to see things the way you do, and they won't brainwash you just by sharing their thoughts. Be strong in the Lord, rooted in the Word, and full of love and humility: in a roomful of people like that, God brings His Word to life in exciting, powerful ways.
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