Learning To See Things As They Are, Not As We See Them.

Have you noticed lately; how difficult it is for a Christian to have a meaningful dialogue with another Christian concerning current events?  We are not alone in this; the whole world is pretty much in the same boat.  Take Covid, for example; asking someone if they did or didn’t get the vaccine is pretty much of a no-no.  Then there is politics.  Did Biden steal the election from Trump, or did he win it fairly?  Was the January 6th insurrection a bunch of anti-democracy thugs or patriotic citizens having a peaceful protest?  And look at all the other topics that if asked of us would require us to present a Godly perspective.  Things like immigration, global warming, racism, human trafficking, famine, drugs, wars, rumors of wars, pornography, fake news, and the list go on and on.  You would expect CNN and FOX news to have heated discussions over these topics.  Still, it seems as if EVERYONE, and I mean people who have been friends for years, are finding themselves unable to have a meaningful dialogue over these subjects.  I can see how problematic it would be for Christians if their views were a mixture of Biblical and secular ideologies.  Ephesians 4:17– 18 says, “Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.”

Perhaps if we look at the events affecting our world through the lens of God’s values and intents for all his children, saved and unsaved, we will begin to understand why we are having such a difficult time conversing with each other?  The areas we have problems understanding are those based on the knowledge that comes from the world and not the wisdom that comes from God.  Solomon says that applying the word of God to your life is ‘The Beginning of Knowledge.’  Proverbs 1:2-3, “To know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding, to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity.”

Most people think of themselves, especially when interacting with others, as being reasonable.  But to be reasonable, one must be sensible, rational, clear thinking, and capable of reaching a sound conclusion that is realistic, achievable, and useful.  If you think that having in-depth conversations with believers and non-believers is unbiblical and something a Christian should avoid because of how contentious the discussions can become go-to Acts 17:17 and see how the Apostle Paul handled it, “So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there.”  Paul, however, was not alone, Stephen in Acts 6:9-10 is described this way, “Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)—Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia—who began to argue with Stephen.  But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.”  It can be daunting to attempt to reason with a person who makes little if any sense, especially if you happen to be that person.  Then the old saying is true, “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” If that is the case then, “we will not cease praying for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,”  Colossians 1:9

We Christians are fond of saying and rightly so that ‘Jesus is the answer,’ but if there was ever a time the Church needs to grapple with the issues and be at the heart of the debate, it is now.  At the heart of every decision the world so desperately needs in order to ensure its survival, it needs to see that it is ‘in Jesus’ where the most profound answers are to be found.  And it is the Church that should be providing the solutions the world seeks.

Let Us Reason Together!  Isaiah 1:18

Proverbs 1:5 says, “A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel.” It would be better if we would be like the wise man who is open to increasing their learning by seeking out the wise counsel of others.  That would allow us to be both rational in our approach to understanding the problem and reasonable in our ability to communicate the solution to others. 

Being rational and reasonable only works if our assumptions are accurate and true.  If the information we are quoting is faulty, what good is it if we use it to convince others?  We are all faced with the same problem: making sure our information is accurate.  It would be great if both sides used only what they knew to be reliable and authentic.  But that is not always possible, and there lies most of the problem.  In the old days, one just went to their Encyclopedias along with their issues of Time or Newsweek magazines, putting all of us, pretty much, on the same page.  Those days are gone, today we have the world wide web where a host of interesting individuals use it to further their points of view.  Nothing ends a discussion faster than unsubstantiated facts, making our arguments mute!  1 Thessalonians 5:21 says, “But test everything; hold fast to what is good.”

For instance, let’s say that three people are having a discussion.  One of them is rational, the other is reasonable, but the third is unseen, and what the unseen person is saying though intently listened to can not be easily proved or disproved.  You would think that rational and reasonable people would be cautious when listening to someone they knew so little about.  The lack of transparency concerning their identity, age, country of origin, the accuracy of their information, and intent should make us highly suspicious of them.  Just because it validates your point doesn’t make it true.  It is almost like going to the supermarket and buying a Tabloid magazine and believing that Elvis was seen at the White House.  Matthew 15:14, “Let them alone; they are blind guides.  And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”

  I find it interesting that in Isaiah 1:18, God encourages us first to come and reason with Him.  God has always been interested in how we treat and talk to one another.  Making a conscious effort to have God be a part of our conversation comes from making it a habit of having Him as part of all our conversations.  For us to be rational and reasonable in all situations, we must form habits found within the word of God.  Not the rational/reasoning we receive from the god of this world/the prince of the air but our Heavenly Father.  Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

Perhaps that is why God called out to Adam and Eve in the Garden after their transgression, saying, “Where are you?” a more accurate translation would be, “What condition do I find you in? Isn’t that a much better way to start any conversation these days, “What condition do I find you in?”   Adam and Eve made it a habit each day to meet with God in the cool of the evening.  Perhaps if we made the same habit, that would be a significant first step.  God could easily overwhelm us with the facts on any subject.  Remember when He asks you a question, it isn’t because he doesn’t know the answer.  When He says, sit down and let’s reason together it gives me hope that he will listen, be kind, considerate, slow to anger, abounding in love while being both reasonable and rational.  Psalm 103:8, “The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.”

I pray you will remain faithful to your King and Savior, till your last breath.

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