Have you ever found yourself changing your ideas about things, learning and growing, seeing other sides of matters? Have you ever found that as you live, you begin to see new things as a result of the experiences that you go through each day? I imagine that if you are reading this, you certainly have. Haven’t we all?
I find that as I live my life, the experiences I have keep me constantly learning and growing. I hope that is true, at least. It ought to be. One year from now, I will probably have learned some things that I don’t see as clearly today. Various things will contribute to that fact: Further thought on my own part, further reading of the Bible, conversations with other people, successful/failed attempts at various activities, the actions of others around me, etc. All of these things and more will combine to enrich my understanding of life and truth. This will result in new perspectives on some matters that I did not know well before.
Now, one important matter that is related to this is the question of how I interact with others concerning these matters of new/changed/altered/deeper perspectives.
The chances are that not everyone will immediately see eye to eye with you about what you have learned. And this is pretty reasonable. It is to be expected. Just think about it: Before you went through the experiences that helped you to see what you now see, your perspective was different. You thought one way; now you think another. What made the difference? You went through something that helped you learn, whatever that something might have been. Now, if you take your newly learned truths and present them to others who have not been through the same experiences that you have, they don’t have the same basis to see these things. They are lacking that experience that you had, that which helped you to see these things. How are they going to see them, then, without that experience? You didn’t see them until you had that experience. Are you going to expect others to?
I find that I foolishly err in this regard by taking my newly learned lessons and presenting them to others with the expectation that they are going to be able to see these things immediately. Then, I get frustrated when they don’t immediately lay hold of these things the way I have over a process of time and life. Let me confess: This is very unfair of me. I needed some time and help to see things; so will others.
So what can we do about these things? I believe that having unity and like-mindedness is very important in our close relationships. We ought to strive for it and work hard to have it. So I think I have decided on at least a couple of important guiding principles that will help in relation to this matter.
First, and most important, as I am working through things in my mind and heart, seeking to learn and grow, it is of great help and value to share my thoughts and development with those around me while I am in the very process of growing. Why? For one, this helps to bring others into the same process of thought and growth and gives an opportunity for us to grow together. It is a very valuable skill to be able to “inspire” others to learn along with us as we grow. Rather than waiting until the conclusions have been reached and then expecting others to leap right to the end of that thought process in one moment, let’s instead give them an opportunity to think along with us as we learn. Then, when those conclusions are reached together, we will be much closer in mind and thought. If we go through the same process of thought and experience together, we will probably be far more likely to reach the same conclusions together. Also, as others share in the same process of experience with us, they will be able to contribute their own insights into the learning process, so that we both will benefit from the combined wisdom between us. This will help us reach better conclusions, and again, we will be doing so together rather than independently. This will always help in regards to being of one mind and thought in the end. And I think that is well worth our efforts. So, in short, the first lesson I draw is that it is important, when possible, to share our learning process with those close to us, thinking together, acting and experiencing together, etc. It will bring us closer together in unity.
Secondly, if we have reached conclusions through a process of experience that has not been shared, and we find it important to help others come to those same conclusions so that we will be on the same page together, we should give thought to how we might be able to bring others to see those same truths. In other words, rather than simply laying out our conclusions and expecting immediate agreement, let’s think about how we can teach others and help them see these truths so that they will believe them in their own hearts as well. Vitally important in this process is the concept of reasoning and thought. We have to be able to show people why something is true. We ought not expect people simply to accept things on our own authority. Let’s take the time to teach them. And sometimes, not mere thought alone will be sufficient. Sometimes we need experience of things to show us what we have not seen in our rational (or irrational) minds alone. I know that is true for me. Sometimes, my experience changes my views of things that I thought were true. I find that in reality, things don’t always go the way I believed they would. So, others may well need also some experience to reinforce some of these truths as well.
The basic point, for me, then, is that it is so important to bring people along with you as you learn things. I want to go forward in life with agreement and unity among those who are close to me. It is a whole lot easier, I think, to learn together as we grow than it is to try to bring people to truth who have not gone through the experiences that we have. It can be done, and we surely indeed should try, but I think we will find it easier if we share things together as we ought to often times. I want to learn to grow in life together with those around me. I find it makes life richer and more enjoyable when I am of one mind and heart with those closest to me in my life.