Why do I call it a road block?... because, this attitude shuts down all communication. If the thoughts, “I know what is right” is ringing through one’s head, then there is no room for learning. I would like us to recognize this road block and turn it into a toll booth. (an idea I first heard from Tim Elmore)
This weekend I heard a speaker, Rick Marks and he had a point we all need to remember when we are feeling completely right in a situation. Let’s visualize that all the knowledge in the world fits into this imaginary circle. (picture me drawing a circle in the air with my arm fully extended) If this represents all the knowledge in the world then what could properly represent how much knowledge you have? Perhaps a pin dot, or some may be a pencil eraser, and a very few may cover the space of a dime, but however much knowledge you have it is minimal compared to all the knowledge in the world, correct? So in every situation there may be something you don’t know. Agreed?
In other words, be careful about taking too strong of a stand about matters that don’t matter.
“Love your neighbors as yourself” is right after loving God with all your heart according to Mark in his gospel. I love me very well. When I start feeling crabby and also have an uncomfortable feeling in my tummy, I go eat something. When I feel emotional and can’t think straight, I know I am tired and send myself to bed. When I am cold, I get a blanket. So you see, when I feel something uncomfortable I look and see my need and try to meet that need. Often when someone else makes us feel uncomfortable, frustrated, even angry, they most likely have a need that is not being met. Look beyond the surface and see if you can meet their real need.
In every situation, loving our neighbor is what is most important, even if that neighbor is our sibling, parent, or friend. Instead of holding the ground of our point, we can look for what they really need. Remembering we only have a small, small dot of knowledge anyway, allows there to be a possibility we may not be right.
In our house we say, “people are more important than things”, today I’d like to change that to “people are more important than being right.” Yes, this is hard. It is hard because it is humbling.
I Peter 5:5 “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Humility is the toll booth to communication and loving our neighbor. Humility is a choice, like putting on jeans or dress pants. We put humility on. Not only does humility allow us to love our neighbor even when we are not in agreement, it is in humility that God gives us grace, grace to love the difficult to love. Picture it like this: We are sure we are right so we stick our heels in to prove our point. A road block has been set up, no ground can be made, it is a standoff. The moment we choose to put on humility and admit there may be more to be learned, is like the moment we throw a few coins in the toll booth and the arm goes up. We are opening the way to communication and coming to genuine understanding.
This is maturity, not living by feelings or to prove one’s own point, rather to love our neighbor and humble ourselves to meet other's real needs.