Two young and talented executives were arguing over the best solution to one of their company’s problems. Each had their reasons with supporting evidence that their solution was best. As an impasse was emerging, the debate turned to the deficiencies in the others plan seeking to prove the other wrong and their idea right. Finally, a senior executive was sought help these two move from argument to action. The young executives lit into a full-court press dismantling the others plan seeking to prove the mistake it would be to take on the other’s strategy. The senior executive let each have their say, stood up and said, “These possibilities are good and I can see them working, but one is not wrong and the other not right, they are just different. Consider a blend of the two or pick one.” The senior executive walked out the room.
Why could those young executives not see the truth that it’s not wrong, just different? Could it be they were so fixed on their idea that they could not think there may be another way? I know I faced something similar a number of years ago as I was on a missions trip in another country. I was so convinced I knew a solution to a problem, that my way was right and any other solution was just plain wrong. The blessing in all this was an older, wiser man on the trip pulled me aside and challenged me by saying, “Mike, your ideas are good, but so are other options, they are not wrong, just different.” Now sure, there are moral issues and civic laws where someone can be wrong but with many decisions or even food or unique food combinations, it’s not that they are wrong, just different.
The Bible challenges us in this area of being open to other ideas.
Ephesians 4:2-3 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace
Romans 15:7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.
Proverbs 18:2 A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.
It is all too easy for us to think that our thoughts, our ideas are the only possible solutions to the point that if people don’t listen and join in, we feel put off, offended, and even threatened. Yet God made us all different.
Acts 17:26 And He (God) made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,
We are uniquely created by God (see Psalm 139:13-16) and put on this earth to interrelate and learn from each other.
Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Romans 12:10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
So maybe it’s not wrong, just different, and that difference may be a wonderful opportunity to be more inclusive, more open, and more accepting of others. This is how togetherness and unity is built. We are better for it and can experience the joy and wonder of being interwoven into a supportive community. How could you be more open to the differences of others today?
Church can and should be a great place to experience togetherness. If you don’t already have a church where you connect, we would like to invite you to our diverse church, Cypress Church or any of our branch churches. Our website has all the information you would need www.cypresschurch.net.
Seeking to be more open to difference along with you,