The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.
Proverbs describes wisdom as being more valuable than the most valuable jewels. It tells us to seek out wisdom above all things. But how would this look in daily life? I know oftentimes I am not very open-minded to people who have differing opinions than myself. I also know that this is a common complaint from non-believers against the church.
We become so set in our ways once we form beliefs on a subject. It becomes difficult to see things from another person’s perspective. However, even the most intelligent and wise person could not be so without learning from others. So why do we become so hard-headed and difficult to teach? Why don’t we approach every conversation, opportunity, experience as a learning experience instead of seeing only what we already know and how we can push our own agenda?
As Romans 12:2 says, we need to renew our minds in order to view the world like Christ. This is very prevalent to being open-minded. We need to renew our minds to see everything as a learning experience. Every discussion, whether with a like-minded person or a very different person, would provide an opportunity to learn. How would we gain wisdom if we surrounded ourselves only with like-minded people? Then we would only be exposed to things we already know and people who confirm our thoughts and beliefs.
I’m not saying we need to agree with every person we encounter, but we can accept a person and their beliefs without agreeing with them. We can treat a person with respect and love even though their beliefs are fundamentally different than our own. Jesus was a Jew and what He preached and taught was often in opposition to the practices of Judaism. He didn’t teach by jamming theology down their throat, He did it through his miracles and acts of love.
Open-mindedness is increasingly relevant today. The media and society are constantly dividing us with the issues of the day. They do this because it increases and strengthens their base. However, if we instead focused on what we have in common and were more accepting of our differences, how different would our society be?
We need to be more open and loving towards others. When we are open and accepting of them, they are that much more open and accepting of us. What better way to reach the lost? How much more could we learn if we did not focus on differences but instead on what we could achieve by helping one another. We cannot grow if we only spend time with those who confirm our own beliefs and sentiments.