DOES YOUR OPINION MATTER?
What?! How is it possible there could be 3 opinions between 2 people? There is a well known quip among Jewish rabbis that says, "Ask two Jews what they think and you'll get three opinions." The Jewish culture has always honored the ability to think critically and clearly, remaining open to differences of opinion. I heard a rabbi once say that one of the biggest differences between protestants and Jews is that the jewish people know how to argue without being easily offended. The rabbi went on to say they consider questioning an act of worship. The purpose of their arguments are not to be adament, but reflects the mutual desire to understand life and to know God in a deeper way. Wow! To me that is a demonstration of intelligent humility that acknowledges that "none of us is as smart as all of us."
Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and they expressed something as if it was their conviction, when you knew they were just parroting something they had heard from someone else? Oscar Wilde said, "Most people are other people.Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” Whats the point? Will your tribe allow you to express what you're thinking? Do we have the courage to ask the hard questions? If we are afraid of the answers we will probably never ask the hard questions.
All of us are ignorant in some way. Is it possible that ignorance is our biggest secret? It has been said, "that some people will never learn anything because they understand everything too soon." The most frightening thing about ignorance is being unaware of it or being unwilling to admit it. For years I studied the scriptures to prove what I already believed rather than humbling myself before the text. The irony is people who think they know often don’t; and those who do know think they don’t.
The early church fathers spoke openly about “unknowing.” Their conviction was that the end of knowledge had something to teach us. They humbly asserted that we could learn as much about God in what we didn’t know as in what we do know. (This content is from chapter three in my book Wandering and Wondering.)
Today I have more questions than I’ve had in all my life. If you have more answers than questions you could very well be on the slippery slope of idolatry. Idolatry is not just the crude sculptures from distant uncivilized countries. The idea of idolatry is man's interpretation of God, which is unconsciously influenced by environmental and social psychology. Idols are not just on pagan altars, but also in well-educated human hearts and minds.
If God told everything we wanted to know we wouldn’t live in mystery. I have found over the years that God gives us the gift of mystery if for nothing else as the antidote to living in the mundane and the monotonous. “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever.” (Deut. 29:29 ESV)
So what's the third opinion between two people? There in the middle, in the midst, God is dispensing understanding; sometimes gradually and sometimes rapidly. I think God enjoys the banter of His baffled children as they seek to understand Him. He experiences more joy than we do when we make new discoveries. Here's a suggestion for you. Go out and find someone who, in your opinion, believes, assumes, or considers certain things very differently from you, and just have an honest conversation. Maybe God will reveal himself in the tension of your differences. It will do both of you good.