The Magic of Entering Another's World
One prospective Colossian Forum participant put it this way: â€śWhat will we do after I say my piece, he says Iâ€™m wrong, then he says his piece and I say heâ€™s wrong?â€ť Nobody wants to repeat the same, tired arguments yet again. Or worse, what about when there is absolutely nothing to talk about? â€śEvolution is established reality so stop saying it isnâ€™t.â€ť â€śThe Bible clearly says homosexual activity is evil so Iâ€™m not listening.â€ť End of story. No more discussion. What then? Beyond deadlocked arguments, these are seemingly inescapable mires of incomprehensibility. But we serve the Lord who demolishes dividing walls (Ephesians 2:14). Crossing the rubble of the demolition begins by desiring to see thingsâ€”if even for a momentâ€”through the otherâ€™s eyes. Or even to feel the weight of what so convinces the other. This moves toward the truth. It is the way of Jesus, who walked alongside Pharisees, tax collectors, and prostitutes. He brought them life where they were without leaving them there. Jesus invited people into His world by painting pictures of His kingdom that made sense in their world. Entering anotherâ€™s world demands firm rootedness in my own. â€śOpen-mindednessâ€ť to others is not intellectual laziness or confusion but sets me aside for a moment to care for another. And so we imitate Christ: â€śValue others above yourselvesâ€ť (Philippians 2:3). Talking in Colossian Forums isnâ€™t just about transferring information. Itâ€™s about visiting strange, new worlds where we kindle shared desire for truth, shared yearning for friendship and shared devotion to Jesus. Since these things are far beyond our grasp, we ask for Godâ€™s helpâ€¦together. â€śPlease open my brotherâ€™s eyesâ€¦and my heart,â€ť we sometimes beg. Only then can we voice our frustration: â€śHow can you think the way you do?â€ť An honest question seeking an honest answer. Now weâ€™re talking. Thereâ€™s no magic for entering anotherâ€™s world. Itâ€™s like any new friendship. We ask each otherâ€™s story. â€śHow did you come to faith? What kind of church shaped you? When have you doubted? How have you suffered?â€ť We talk about what we fear will go wrong if the other side wins. We talk about why we think the other is damaging the church and what we admire about each other. We pray for each other. And, yes, we talk about the complex questions and challenges that divide us. After we talk, we need to return to prayer. We give thanks for being drawn closer to God and one another. We repent of how weâ€™ve wronged God and one another. We voice our hope that He will continue to hold all things together (Colossians 1:17). Itâ€™s hardly rocket science, but thatâ€™s the kind of talking across difference that keeps drawing us back for more.