In our increasingly adversarial world, words matter. When words are carelessly tossed about, the likelihood we will see bad outcomes dramatically increases. As one matures, the responsibility in how one uses words increases.
In the echo chamber of those agreeing with us, it is hard to be objective. The affirmation of friends and believers often creates an unconscious bias of acceptance and comfort. After a cycle or two of bad outcomes, it is hard to see the message within; one’s discomfort with what followed often colors and shapes my view in ways that are difficult, almost impossible to erase.
I was recently reminded of growing up in a boarding school. There are fantastic memories mixed with threads of doubt, anger, and frustration. If I could change one memory, it would be the willingness of adults in that era to legitimately discussed the issues of the day. I look bad and see the struggles of that part of my life made more difficult because adults were absent from the discussion. It reminds me of several contemporary conversations which lack a mature voice leading a respectful ear offered to each participant.
This is not something new. Each generation, ever era, goes through the struggle as different viewpoint tug and pull the pendulum in their direction. Open versus closed thinking, left versus right, liberal versus traditionalist, the viewpoints are many and endless.
I am left with the reality of my memories and an opportunity to act in the present. I cannot change the past. I can learn from my blind spots which were amplified by the fears and doubts of others. There is an opportunity to hear invitation and ask to explore the story which informs and gives way to the why.
I do not expect I will agree with every viewpoint. I expect I will grow as I listen with a respectful heart. In understanding their story, I am confident that the closing line to a new chapter will be “when they said, ‘Let’s go to the house of [my] God,’ my heart leaped for joy.” (Psalm 122.1).