Thursday, February 23, 2012

Open Minds

When I taught in a Christian School in Virginia, our school administrator was originally from Buffalo. When it came to snowy days in the wintertime, we knew there would be no days off unless the conditions were really bad. There would be the most ominous of weather reports but, Mr. S would say, “Let’s wait to see if the snow really comes, before cancelling school”. And often, despite the predictions, no snow came and we had school. One winter was exceptionally snowy for Central Virginia. We actually did have some school snow days, but Mr. S still held his ground and would not issue a school closing until there was significant snow on the ground. After all, when you are from Buffalo, what is a few inches of fresh white powder? One day Mr. S was out of town. The high school principal was in charge. There was a forecast for heavy snow. This man, who had been raised in the South, called off school for the day. No snow came. Not even a flake. Upon his return, Mr. S was not happy.

How many times do we make decisions as did this Southern gentleman, before we have all the facts? We hear rumors and pass judgment. We see clever advertisements and vote for an attractive candidate. We read about proposed changes to our society and jump to conclusions. How much difficulty, we could have avoided if we were only willing to wait until we had all the facts? It pays to be reserve judgement and our decision until we have all the facts.

However, is this what being open minded is all about. All too often, there are those who have the necessary facts but refuse to make a decision. They pride themselves at being open-minded when in actuality they are just being indecisive. What they see as an indication of having a strong character is a sign they really have a weak one. There is reason to be open-minded until all the facts are in as was the man from Buffalo, but note he did not stay open-minded, but made a decision, and once his decision was made, he stuck to it. In this way one he avoided the a hasty decision made by the Southern gentleman. Open-mindedness must not be a cover for not making a decision when facts are available.
One’s open-mindedness can also be a cover for laziness. When the necessary facts are available, but the person refuses to gather them, perhaps he is just being lazy or procrastinating refusing to make a decision. In effect, though he already has made one. Open-mindedness can be of value, but can keep us from taking actions we ought to take.

One cannot be truly open-minded about God. When you think about it, you either believe in Him or you don’t. You either receive Him or you don’t. The facts necessary for a decision are all around us according to Romans chapter one. In this case the non-decision is a decision to reject God’s invitation to a relationship with Him. To say one is open-minded only covers up the matter.

God does not seek to prove His existence. He simply states it as in Genesis 1:1. However, God does invite us to prove His goodness as we accept His promises. The only proof we receive is when we receive God into our lives. All Creation points to His existence. His Word points to His goodness. His Son on the Cross points to His love. One either rejects or receives. Any delay only brings unnecessary heartache, loss and pain.

Some wise guy has said, “Show me a person with an open mind, and I’ll show you a person with a hole in his head.” In the case of receiving or rejecting Christ, this statement is not far off the mark.

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