A few years ago we lived in China and worked with about eight different cultures as part of our team. We were the only kiwis. Boy did we learn alot about how we perceive things and how we judge others, and what is our cultural norms and standard, our worldview that we carried without even realising it that we expected others to be the same. It opened my eyes to the diversity of God's creation and the beauty that was there when we learnt to accept each other and the way we all worked, the different mindsets and beliefs that challenged my own but opened my eyes to see things different, the different ways of honour or lack of honour, all sorts of things. It has brought a desire to understand why people think the way they think, why they do what they do, why they believe what they believe. It has brought depth to me as a person and the ability to listen and to love and to want what the other person has, because I need it in my life to make me who I am.
Yesterday I was talking to someone about a book and a concept within the book and based on something she heard me say, it straight away stopped her from reading the book and in fact from even looking at the book, because of one comment she heard and her belief system within her to the comment, in so doing has missed out on a wonderful revelation, I believe, from the Lord.
Another time a quest speaker was coming to our church and because of what people posted about him on the internet, many people decided not to go. We questioned about going but decided we would go and listen and discern for ourselves. I am glad we did because he has turned out to be the most influential and theologically correct speaker I have heard (in my opinion), but I nearly didn't go because of someone else's comments about him and because of what other people were doing.
We can miss out on so much when we look from our point of view and the perceptions that we have of how things should be done that we only see from narrowed glasses/vision. I want to encourage you today to be willing to listen and to learn from other people. Take the time to get to know people that are not the same as you, who look at things differently than you, who perhaps are of a different age group or standing in society than you, a different theological point of view from you and be open to learning which will open you up to a wider perspective on life and on how God loves his people in all its diversity.