Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Closed-Minded Christians

Sometimes I get mad at other Christians. I do. It's not nice, I know. But one thing that makes me mad every time is Christians who don't listen, either to other Christians or to non-Christians.

I believe there's a difference between being closed-minded and careful-minded. 

Closed-minded means assuming you know the answer as soon as someone opens their mouth. Before you even consider their point, before you even look at the evidence, you're done listening. You've made your decision, and you're sticking to it.

This is foolish for three reasons:
  1. You alienate the person talking to you.
  2. You may miss out on a good idea.
  3. You may miss out on a great conversation.
I think the key to being a Christian is to be careful-minded

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. - 2 Corinthians 10:5

Here's the thing about that verse: in order to demolish an argument against God, you need to take a thought captive. You need to hang on to it and inspect it, and then you need to test it against the Word. I know this verse is commonly used for whatever invades our thought life, but if you read the rest of the chapter, Paul talks about boasting Christians who think they're better than other Christians.

Which is often when we become closed-minded.

If nothing else, giving an idea the opportunity to be heard can deepen your friendship with someone or start an interesting dialogue. And with a non-Christian, that could mean all the difference in their salvation. One conversation could lead to many more.

And, mind you, I'm not asking you to forget what you believe, or to acquiesce just to be nice. That's not a good idea. But take ideas captive—even other people's—to inspect and consider prayerfully before you shoot them down. That's not too much to ask.

The next time someone brings up a point you think you disagree with, take time to investigate it. Compare it to the Bible and what God has to say on the topic. Then give a thoughtful, careful answer.

What do you think? Are you a careful-minded Christian?

6 comments:

  1. Hi Rachel - I LOVE this post. I know someone very close to me like that. It.is.so.frustrating. I get to the point I don't even offer an opinion because - they know everything already! yeah right! So, now you have put into words what I'm feeling, I'll prayerfully digest this and maybe discuss it with them? I'll ask God if He wants me to address this, let this person somehow bring this up.
    God bless
    Tracy

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have another reason to be careful-minded. It *might* be subsumed by your category #2, but I'll throw it out there anyway.

    After my pig-headed, idealistic early 20s, I had an epiphany one day that I had changed my mind on a number of issues on which I had once considered my opinion settled. This suggested that I would probably see the wisdom of other ideas, and the flaws in my own, if I actually went out of my way TO seek out the input of others.

    So I'd add #4: You might stagnate yourself from growing beacuse you closed-mindedly assume that you're right, when you're decidedly not.

    ReplyDelete
  3. @JeffHolton Excellent point, Jeff! One I hadn't considered. How else do our worldviews change and improve? If we don't let the ideas and experiences of others in for at least a few minutes, we don't grow.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is why I adore you so much Rachel...you're absolute willingness to risk bringing topics like this to the light! You throw caution to the wind, and let God handle it! I absolutely appreciate this!

    You handled this topic with absolute elegance...and you're right on with it. The one scripture that comes to mind as I read this is my life verse...Lamentations 3:40. "Let us examine our ways and test them, and return to the LORD." Our lives are meant to be examined, set free, left to the whims of creativity so God can get in all the messiness and bring forth his abounding beauty. Keeping them caged, never explored, imprisoned, abused...it all thwarts his purpose and mission for our lives. Our lives thrive on adventure...and what adventure is there in being closed-minded? As you said...this isn't an invitation to be so open minded your brains fall out...we need to exercise the gift of discernment we all have as Christians. As Christians...we all have this gift due to the Holy Spirit. We just need to let it be used...let him be used...and let life live through us!

    I adore you, Rachel...I do. I am so grateful for our connection...and I can't wait until we can hang out again. Your life is refreshment to mine, and for that I am ever grateful to God for you. Love you, lady!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Good post and timely. If we expect to be the conduit for others to reach a saving knowledge of Christ then we need to give them some room to speak. I just read several good books on this very subject. "Godspace" by Doug Pollock and Coffee Shop Conversations by Dale Fincher are two.

    Thanks for the insight.BTW, I jumped off the Modern Reject guest post.

    ReplyDelete
  6. So happy I found this! I was trying to explain a movie to me roommate and began by saying "It'll make you think" and then proceeded to explain three interesting ideas in the movie about religion and she immediatly shot my whole conversation down. I've been angry with her about it but your entry has given me peace. She has done this often in the past month and I'm getting to a point where I don't want to talk about God with her because she thinks she's always right and I'm always wrong simply because my walk with God is different than hers. So thank you for voicing exactly what I was feeling in a way that brought peace about the issue.

    ReplyDelete

I wrote the thing. You read the thing. Don't be too lazy to comment!