This week I took myself to an urgent care clinic with an ear ache. I had been experiencing pain for several days, but would forget about it during the daytime. When sleepy time rolled around, it was a different story. Rolling over in bed or blowing my nose almost brought me to my knees. I assumed I had an ear infection that an antibiotic, prescribed after an excruciatingly long wait in the doctor’s office, would fix. To my surprise, the attending physician diagnosed me with wax build up and assured me I would rebound once it was removed. Have you ever had wax flushed from your ear? (I apologize now to the squeamish.) The nurse put a liquid softening agent in my ear while I laid on my side for 10 minutes. That’s what she promised anyway. I didn’t time it, but I’m pretty sure it measured closer to 25. After the wait, she repeatedly shot pressurized warm water into my inner ear. That mess will make you dizzy. But after the irrigation was complete, my pain was gone, and I swear I could even hear better.
I think it might be time for all Americans to undergo a virtual wax removal. Because we are not really hearing each other. Before you log off here, give me a chance to explore the idea of absolute truth. Some believe it doesn’t exist. Others believe only science holds the key to absolute truth – although the more we learn, the more science changes it’s mind. One of the most commonly overused statements today when discussing (especially) religious beliefs is, “That may be true for you, but it’s not true for me.” Is this really a thing? If something is true, isn’t it always true? To look for answers I had to start with a simple definition of the word “true”. “in accordance with fact or reality; accurate or exact.” There doesn’t seem to be much wiggle room. There are lots of things in our world that are open for interpretation, which means I must narrow my view about what can actually qualify as “true”. I don’t think the word “true” even belongs in the aforementioned overused statement above. I think it would be better stated, “That may be what you believe, but it’s not what I believe.”
As a believer in Christ, I put 100% trust in the accuracy and reliability of God’s Word. If something is stated or referenced in the Bible, it is true. These things I have often called “Close-fisted issues”. There is no room to wiggle the fingers or change anything that is explicitly stated in God’s Word. God created the heavens and the earth. Jesus is God’s Son and was therefore born of a virgin. He lived a sinless life and sacrificed himself, dying to take the punishment for our sins so we can have unbroken communion with God. If you believe these things and choose to be led by Him, you will live forever with God in heaven after you pass from this earth. These things, and many others written about by God’s chosen scribes are close-fisted truths. Anything else not left for us in scripture, is open for discussion. It’s an open-handed issue. We can have feelings or beliefs about open-handed issues, but they are not matters of life and death. Contrary to how many of us feel right now, we don’t have to hold so tightly to these types of views. Renowned preacher and communicator Louie Giglio stated this week, “In an age of uncertainty and unprecedented opportunity, we need to offer less ‘I think’, ‘I feel’, ‘I believe’, and more ‘This is what God tells us through His Word.’ Our language is a barometer of the kind of lasting hope we are offering to the world.”
And now I’m about to get more controversial. Do you know what is NOT mentioned in the Bible? Even one time? How we should treat the flag and national anthem of the United States of America. Please finish reading before you get mad at me. People are loosing their ever-loving mess over what a bunch of over-paid athletes decide to do before a football game! This was the number one news story in the country on the same day that a gunman opened fire in Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Tennessee. Really? I am alarmed at how much power we are handing the media to direct and control our feelings!
I usually stay far away from posting my thoughts on whatever the issue of the day may be, because honestly, I usually fall somewhere in the middle on most of them. I can often see both points of view. It is usually not difficult to find some valid points in both sides of the arguments, but that’s not a popular place to be. The media (social media included) wants us to draw up sides and fight! Author and speaker Jen Hatmaker blogged today that our culture “feels like it is coming apart at the seams” and everything is “polarized”. “It feels like America is getting a divorce and we are dividing up the assets.” Can I just say (without making any enemies I hope) that I have the utmost respect for those who have fought and sacrificed for our country and the freedoms that I enjoy here. I am grateful to be an American citizen and with all of it’s many flaws, I would not want to live any where else but here. (And I really think, by the way, that most single-kneed protesters would agree with this.) But can I also say, (hopefully without making any enemies) that I also believe in preserving the right we all have to peacefully protest when there is something we disagree with. It is one of the things that sets our nation apart. We are allowed to say that we don’t like our president (or any other elected official) or what he/she is doing without fear of retaliation. You may not agree with the time and place some have chosen to protest, but you don’t really have to. They still have the right. And when it is called for, agreeing to disagree is one of the things that makes us a civilized nation.
The media would like nothing better than for this – and many other issues to continue to divide us. Religious vs Non-Religious, Right vs Left, Democrat vs Republican, but I urge you (especially on the interwebs) to approach those you disagree with by opening your hand. Just because you choose to listen doesn’t mean you have to change your mind, but you just might make a friend. Instead of shouting over someone’s voice, listen with the intent of understanding the PERSON even if not the sentiment. Behind every stated issue is a person – probably someone not much different than you. Take the time to find out. If we all stopped shouting over each other for a hot minute, we just might experience something beautiful.
“Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself.” Philippians 23 NET