Monday, March 12, 2012

An Open Mind

My big question lately or dilemma rather, has been how do I keep an open mind without compromising my own beliefs?  Although my answer to this is not exactly concrete or something that others may agree with, I have found my own peace of mind in regards to this proposed dilemma. Until about 4 or 5 years ago, I would have considered myself to be open minded but looking back now, I'm not so sure that I was. Or perhaps I was but never needed to actually apply the concept into my life or my situations at that time. Or maybe I wasn't at all and was so narrowminded that I didn't even realize I was, which leads me now to doubt that I am again..... anyway, back to my original thought and point!

As I was implying when I began writing, I am now more open minded but sometimes wonder if I ever cross the line to compromising my own beliefs. For the sake of clarity, let's just apply this concept to my Christianity for now. I am a Christian and although I fall short daily, I truly begin each day with the plan to be the best I can be and live out God's will for that day. In doing so, I am instructed to live as Jesus would, demonstrating his love and forgiveness to others, while also standing up for what is right in the eyes of God. I often find myself in situations in which the will of God is not clear in that moment. Perhaps that is reflective of my lacking a close connection with Him. Still, it is difficult to know how to proceed in those trying situations. Do I stand up for Him and risk offending (which I know is usually the right answer) or should I simply show His love and acceptance of even sinners? In my growth as a Christian and as a maturing human being, I've realized that there is a tactful way to do both. First, always approach people with love and the best of intentions, taking into account the WWJD principle; What would Jesus do? Second, be careful not to pass your own jugement but instead, the written Word of God, directly quoted so as not to add opinion. Be sure in doing so that you are not taking that quote out of context also! This can lead into a whole new discussion which I will save for another time. Last, let people know that God (and you) loves them no matter what, even when we are sinners. Most helpful to me has been to remain open minded and think outside of my own tiny world and mind before saying anything at all. Simply because someone is living in a way that I wouldn't doesn't in itself make them any less right than me. So long as it is not violating God's commandments and instruction, then who am I to take issue with it? There is only one who is capable of judging us. None of us can live "right enough" to find our way into His Kingdom!

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2: 8-9

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