Newsletter January/February 2021
Hamilton United Methodist Church
Pastor: Mike Smith Office: 260-488-2803
E-Mail: email@example.com Jan/Feb 2021
One of the greatest “virtues” of our age is open-mindedness. In fact, one of the worst things you can say about someone is that they are the opposite: close-minded. The term “close-minded” and “fundamentalist” are some of the favorite labels of those who would criticize Christians who take their walk seriously. It’s a term often meant to mock intelligence of people who disagree with our views. However, despite any potential abuse or misuse in its opposite, I suggest that “open-mindedness” is a good thing, properly understood.
Open-mindedness means the willingness to seek the truth and accommodate it no matter the cost. Christians ought to be the standard for open-mindedness. A close-minded person can only accept the truth they’ve created. When we come to Christ, we are opening our minds to His truth. Whenever we encounter His truth in our lives, we must be willing to adopt that truth into our thoughts.
There are two parts of open-mindedness that we need to understand. First, we must be open-minded enough to look at a view or an idea that challenges our current thinking. As people who are constantly growing in our walk with Christ, we do not have everything figured out. It’s not possible for us to have mastered all things in every way. That would make us infallible, and no man can make such a claim. We will have to adopt some “new” views (new to us, not God) if we are to grow as Christians.
The one caution to this part of open-mindedness is that it doesn’t mean we have to start from scratch in evaluating every idea we’ve ever held. Many people think that to be open-minded we must give up all beliefs. Not only is that not true, but it’s also not possible. No one can truly become a blank slate. We don’t have to pretend as if we’ve learned nothing about a subject in order to come to it with an open mind. Even if we did pretend, it would only be pretending. We need to be willing to change our minds if another idea makes more sense, but it’s ok to start with a conclusion in mind as long as we can let that conclusion go if necessary.
Secondly, being open-minded means that we are willing to stick to a “traditional” understanding. There are many people who change views on a subject and claim that those who don’t change along with them are close-minded. If we are truly open-minded, we are not rooting for a new and more exciting view, but rooting for the truth, even if it’s that same old truth we’ve heard all of our lives. That might not “feel” open-minded, but it is.
Open-mindedness to “traditional” truth keeps a lot of people from plummeting to their deaths…literally. I would love to come to a new view that told people they can fly without a machine, but I’m willing to accept the same old “boring” conclusion that we’ll fall because I’m open-minded to an ancient truth. It’s great for us to examine truths for ourselves, but we must be willing to accept the truth, even if gravity is the “old, traditional” view.
Are we open-minded? In other words, are we humble enough to follow the truth wherever it leads us, whether to places unknown, or to places we’ve been all our lives? Let’s be sure to let God’s truth work in us and have the faith to follow Him down whatever path He leads.
Blessings, Pastor Mike