I accompanied someone to India for the first time earlier this week. It was a great experience. Everything was new. Everything was exciting. Everything was an opportunity to experiment, experience, and from which to learn and grow. Food, traffic, ways of working, attitudes, and challenges all wrapped themselves into a couple of busy days full of new discoveries. As an observer I admired the attitude of jumping in with both feet; leaving fears, uncertainties, and doubts at home.
I know it isn’t always this way. Some come looking to bring their customs, preferences, and values to a society that has been maturing for centuries. It is as if the individuals arrogantly believe that they know better. Ironically even if they do have some insight which could be useful it is lost in their attitude! Brash, critical, and condescending seem to be the values that are held most dear. When I first saw this I found myself fighting the attitude. I am not sure what changes this approach; I know that confrontation doesn’t.
I have come to realize that inviting someone into an experience is special. One requirement is not to extend the invitation to those who are not open to a new experience. The core reason is that no matter what the evidence says, what the experience tells, or civility suggests the conclusions have already been drawn. It is rather sad, opportunities are lost never to be regained all because one wasn’t open.
The evidence is on the table that God is interested in your life and mine. Even when people don’t really believe their eyes God presses on. The words are direct and yet comforting. “I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever. I have told you this explicitly because even though you have seen me in action, you don't really believe me.” (John 6.35, 36)
The question of being open isn’t a one time event. The question plays itself out in each moment; am I willing to see, experience, and choose?
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