Why do you think what you think and believe what you believe? Are your thought patterns based on what you have heard your parents say? Are your beliefs based on a book you read decades ago?
Today, I want to challenge us to switch off the autopilot and not react to difficult questions based on yesterday’s understanding and beliefs.
Many of our reactive answers to complex challenges and ethical dilemmas come from the pressure to give an immediate answer. This is dangerous because it means we can neglect dedicating time to necessary research. Or even worse, we default to what past generations believed, based on what they knew to be true.
For example, there’s our stance on whether a sick person should be able to access medication not yet approved by our nation’s medical board or a terminally ill person’s decision to cease medical treatment altogether. How quickly we draw a conclusion “for” or “against”, but based on what?
I realise that some ideas and beliefs I hold to today I didn’t hold to yesterday. That’s ok. I’m willing to adjust my thinking if realising my error puts me back on the right path. And if necessary, I’m willing to say nothing at all.
There were days when make-up, jeans and voting were not acceptable for females. That seems absurd today. It makes me think, what are those things today that seem “uncomfortable” or even “wrong” but in a few decades from now, after a more considered approach, will seem “right”?
We say so easily, “how times have changed.” Really? Do “times” have the power to change wrong to right or is it ideas and our bias or preconceived ideas that have changed? Maybe over time, wisdom has had a chance to show its hand and directly influence our core beliefs.
Changing ideas does not suggest weakness or defeat. To the contrary, changing ideas suggests bravely confronting real issues that affect real people’s lives. As a Christian, if I fail to consider Christ’s perspective above all else on any given issue, then I miss out on knowing truth. After all, there is no man in history who has better exemplified grace and truth.
I believe in absolutes, but I also understand that we live in a world where I don’t have all the answers. There are certain situations that demand more thought and an open mind and heart. I can’t afford not to respond to pain with grace.
While I believe in the absolute of divine healing, that God can, does and is able to heal, in the past that has stopped me being open to someone talking to me about their fear of death or their desire to talk to their loved ones about the possibility of not being healed. As if somehow God would refuse to heal those He loves because they discussed real life and suffering.
What I have realised in the midst of my own battle with disease, and mixing with others in similar battles, is that it’s important I don’t answer people’s questions of deep issues with cliché, off the cuff, unthoughtful answers.
What’s important is that I walk a mile in their shoes.
What’s important is that I allow love to direct my response.
July 11, 2014 at 7:49 am
Wow Phil there is an abundance of uncommon grace on your life just to be able to articulate that when you are in the middle of it, again well done.
July 13, 2014 at 8:36 am
Thanks Mark. What would we do without the grace of God!
July 11, 2014 at 9:40 am
Thanks Phil. The Greatest is—- LOVE—- next hmmm Wisdaom hmm actually I don’t know. Blessings.
July 13, 2014 at 8:37 am
July 11, 2014 at 4:53 pm
July 13, 2014 at 8:37 am
Hmmmm I agree!
July 12, 2014 at 2:38 am
Thank you Phil for your honesty and candor. I have just got back from a conference in Melbourne dealing with the inclusion of people with dissabilities in church life and the past two days has given some of my “old thinking” a real shake up. Your comments serve to reinforce many of those things I have heard at conference; which was called “Honest Conversations.”
July 13, 2014 at 8:38 am
This may just inspire my next post. Thanks Noel.
July 12, 2014 at 2:49 am
Great wisdom, Phil.
July 13, 2014 at 8:40 am
Thanks Bill. Also thanks for encouragement about the BiPap.
July 12, 2014 at 8:11 am
So happy,from my side, that God has joined our dots:) There has been a lot of death in my story since Jesus pulled me kicking and screaming from my version of the miry clay. Our eldest son from meningitis related issues when he was almost three, my sister’s heart stopped after 49 years of medical issues since birth, her son at twenty-one from muscular dystrophy and my dad a few years ago. My mum and I danced at his funeral because he was free from mental torment and at home with the Living Creatures…he was always fascinated. God is always for us, He is always good and being tucked into His heart is life saving. I absolutely believe that Papa God can and does heal, I have experienced healing myself and watched others receive healing as we prayed. Our God is indeed, more than we are, in every way. Thank you for these posts…I feel I am “being equipped for (my) works of service”. Blessings
July 12, 2014 at 1:38 pm
I had the same thoughts about this over the last month. What do you do if maybe only a drug which is illegal can help you to live on!?
After taking for more than one year opiates I finaly managed to come away of it! Praise God! But what will I do if the pain comes stronger again? Or the sickness flames up even more? Just trusting God by not taking unapproved medicine? Or trusting God that we also can be in his will by taking it and by this I can live a life with my loved family?
July 13, 2014 at 8:44 am
Hi Stephan. This is why I wrote the blog so that we would ask the tuff questions and come to a place of conversations with people we know and trust about difficult but important issues. Don’t isolate yourself, talk to family, talk to people you trust, people who love you but also people who may have knowledge about it. Talk to your spiritual oversight as there will always be tensions between our known reality and our core values that we must navigate through. Blessings Stephan and may your future have better days ahead.
August 2, 2014 at 7:18 pm
Reblogged this on Puzzling The Gates and commented:
Sometimes we hold on to certain beliefs because they sit more comfortably than the possibility that we may not have all the answers or worse…we could be wrong about something. I believe God wants us to actually think about issues that affect us and affect our loved ones, rather than have pat answers for every situation under the sun.
August 4, 2014 at 2:32 pm
When God opens our hearts (to Himself)…He doesn’t close our minds. So we really are free to think about all manner of things in life, and the Christian faith.
Thanks, so much.
August 7, 2014 at 8:10 pm
Thanks so much for comments and follow.