I received an e-mail today from a couple belonging to the CGI congregation which I formerly attended requesting that they be removed from my e-mail address list. They informed me that they have not read my blog, but they apparently wanted to save some of my time when sending out e-mails (it wasn't that big of a deal - just a click or two of my mouse). They are symptomatic of a trend that I have been observing for many years now: Too many folks have simply stopped listening to anything that they happen to disagree with.
I personally know people who will only listen to Fox News or MSNBC News (depending on whether they happen to be conservative or liberal in their views). I know of other individuals (some of them in my own family) who will not listen to the President of the United States, because they don't like him or what they think he stands for! I have friends that will not read any material from any church other than their own, or anything written by a member of their own group that contradicts what they believe to be true.
Where does such an attitude come from? The simple answer is PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Some folks are so convinced of their own correctness and righteousness that they feel that it is beneath them to even contemplate anything different. In other words, they are proud of what they know; and they firmly believe that what they know is superior to what other folks know. This knowledge acts as the filter for everything that they see, hear, smell, taste and feel - it colors every aspect of their world view. Hence, when they take in something that contradicts that or is unfamiliar to them, their automatic response is to reject it without further consideration - that's commonly referred to as prejudice.
In Scripture, God calls this a stony heart - one that is so calloused, hard and impermeable that nothing can penetrate it. Thus a stony heart is one that cannot grow or change. By virtue of the fact that it is encased in a hard shell, it is no longer capable of growth or alteration - no outside force can touch it.
The Christian life has been compared to human gestation - the growth and development of a baby in the womb. Question: What happens when a baby ceases to grow and develop? Answer: It dies! What happens to a Christian that has decided that they've got it all? What happens when a Christian ceases to grow in grace and knowledge? Don't get mad - I'm just asking.
I have found in the course of my life that I have always profited from exposure to opinions that are different from my own - even when I profoundly disagreed with the person on the other side. Sometimes another person can bring something to the table that I haven't considered before - maybe they've seen something that I didn't see. Some folks are frankly more pliable in the hands of God than I am, and I end up gaining new spiritual insights from having been exposed to them. Different opinions sometimes change or modify my opinion about something. Other times, they serve to reinforce my own opinion or strengthen my arguments in favor of what I believe; but I have found that I always profit from exposure to other opinions.
How sad and childish it is to plug your ears and close your eyes and stand in the corner by yourself! I hope and pray that I will never be content with what I know and who I am at any given moment. I want to grow in grace and knowledge for as long as I live. In fact, the alternative scares me - it sounds too much like death!