Some people might say that I’m stubborn, but I prefer to think that I have duly considered a topic and after careful consideration have arrived at the correct answer! Years ago, I’d been accused of being terribly judgmental about people who didn’t share my opinion.
Recently, I’ve widened my circle of friends to more diverse groups through my church and neighborhood. Although we don’t talk about political issues on Sunday mornings, our small coffee groups throughout the week often digress into discussions on current affairs.
Previously I’d self-selected friends that thought the same way that I did about issues, so there was never much debate or discussion. We’d made up our minds and landed on the same conclusions. But now that I’ve had a chance to listen to some different opinions, I’ve been amazed that I’ve changed my mind on issues like the legalization of marijuana, the impact of voter ID laws and universal healthcare coverage.
I asked myself, “Why change?” and “Why change now?”
I changed my opinion because I started listening to people that I’ve grown in friendship with over the past few years and I value their opinion. In many cases they’ve presented new information, often from their insight as world travelers or their wider knowledge of Scripture. They weren’t just talking heads on a television show, or a politician that was trying to woo my vote. These are my friends and neighbors who have thought through the same issues, but have arrived at a different opinion.
I look forward to these coffee groups as we share new books, the latest local, national and even international news. It helps inform me, but still allows me to make up my mind without being shouted at or condemned for not agreeing with the majority.
Just as in current events, I’ve learned the most about my faith from my friends who I trust; not from strangers on a TV screen or academics in books.
I pray that we are all open-minded enough to learn from the people that we know.