Thursday, September 29, 2005

What truly changes minds and hearts?

Whether it's about Justice Roberts (or now the next Supreme Court nominee) or Hurricane Katrina or abortion or Democrat v. Republican or Conservative v. Liberal or any other issues we're bound to see debated on blogs and editorials and talk shows, or even if it's a personal disagreement with a friend or family member I wonder how often somebody firmly ensconced on one side of the issue, after hearing somebody explain the opposing point of view, says "Hey, you may have a point there. I hadn't considered those factors. Let me rethink this." And if/when that does happen, what led to the change of mind and heart?

I know my major paradigm shift (so to speak) about life came when I embraced Christ as my Savior and Lord. I now believe that Jesus is who the Bible says, and I believe that the moral laws, promises, etc. in the Bible still stand true.

But I also believe in other non-religious issues like a constructionist view of the Constitution, lower taxes, local government preferred over the federal government, the judicial branch not legislating from the bench, etc.

I feel I'm much more "ensconced" in my religious views than in my non-religious views. I hold to the latter quite firmly, for sure, but the "new heart" I was given when Christ came into my life makes me more likely to agree spiritually with Him. Or maybe some of the non-religious views I hold are indeed influenced by my faith in Christ. Hmmm.

Anyway, other than a religious conversion, what has led you to have a change of heart about an issue that you once held firm to, whether religious or otherwise? And what has helped you change the minds of others likewise firmly holding strong to their views? I wonder if much of the opinions being expressed out there do more to shore up the beliefs of the like-minded than to change the beliefs of the opposition?

As for me, I have found that humility is key. Sometimes, when my wife and I get into a disagreement, I'm more often at fault than I care to admit. It's tough saying I was wrong, so I may try to use a non sequitur and find a totally unrelated fault with her. Or I may sulk in silence. Only when I look into my heart and review what I've said or done can I begin to realize my part in causing the problem. It certainly helps to have a wife who is so forgiving and who loves me in spite of my many faults.

There is such animosity out there in the blogs, etc., when it comes to the various issues being debated. Even if a person proves his point, if he does so in a hateful way then the person with the opposing point of view will not admit he was wrong, because he will feel so offended. "I told you so," "you idiot," "you people are sheep," etc., will not quickly endear me to your point of view. But state all the facts--not just those that support your preconceived beliefs, without the ad hominem attacks, and I'll be wise to consider them.

May each of us have the humility and wisdom to accept when we're wrong and know when we're right, and if the latter may we show love in expressing ourselves.

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