Once upon a time, I was a political, religion, and science forum debater. I was good at it. I took pride in my ability to scribe the compelling nuances of my position as to masterfully refute my debate opponent. I knew I was right. More importantly, I knew that if you did not agree with my opinions, then you were simply wrong.

It was thrilling, and intellectually invigorating! It was also hopelessly pointless.

At some point I began to resent the person on the other side. “Why don’t they get it? See how masterful my logic is? See how I intricately wove the Bible into my position?”

I began to believe that they were just too stubborn, and dishonest debaters because they would never change their mind.

During one particularly intense debate, my opponent asked, “Herb, is there anything I can say to change your mind?”

I quickly quipped, “No, because you’re the one who needs to change his mind!”

Immediately, a flood of taunts were directed at me. “Hypocrite!” they mocked.

3“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:3-5)

That’s when I realized it was all pointless. The truth is that all of us – even those crying, “Hypocrite!” were never going to change our minds. We were reveling in the fact that we did not agree. No liberal was going to become conservative and no atheist was going to suddenly believe in God just because I had a compelling argument. Why? Because the lifeblood of the beast was “disagreement.” The only way to get that 2×4 out of my eye was to leave that world behind.

Today, I try to avoid debate. If I’m in a vigorous discussion, rather than try to convince anyone to think my way, I offer my viewpoint, and listen to their viewpoint. And here’s the kicker: I try to allow their opinion to take traction in my mind – perhaps they are right, or partially right. Can I learn from them?

Too many times we allow “being right” to become the most important thing. But, in “true community” we are all equally capable of being transformed by one another.

Final thought: if you are complaining about someone else, and how they are acting – please get out a mirror and look at yourself. You might have a 2×4 hanging from your eye-socket.

I’ve got my mirror. Where’s yours?

12 thoughts on “×4”

  1. So very true..

    2 Timothy 2:23 (New International Version)

    23Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.

    We do not need to quarrel. Instead we need to focus on God’s truth… seeking it constantly in our own lives and gently sharing it with others in love.

  2. Yeah, I used to hate anything that made me question. I would dig in my heels whether verbally or mentally. You miss a lot of learning opportunities that way. I’ve got the mirror out!

    Thanks Herb.

  3. As I approach the ripened age of 30, I realize that the mirror casts quite an undesireable reflection. Therefore I refrain from even looking in the first place. That which I don’t see isn’t really there. But when I do look, wow, how did those love handles get so big? My hairline isn’t receding, it’s retreating, fast. My nosehair isn’t growing, it is multiplying exponentionally. You get the point….

    I fear that I can treat my “spiritul mirror” in the same manner. I don’t bother to look becuase I don’t want to be bothered by what I see.

    1. haha – wait until you can see 40 across the street! Those wild hairs of your youth suddenly grow in unnatural places – like your ear lobes!

      I’m with you – I don’t like to take that spiritual mirror out very often.

  4. I like you the way you are now. Don’t think I would have liked you than. Not that I would have called you a hypocrite. You would have reminded me of my father who always said his will was my law. No, like you better now.

    You have to look in the mirror in my house because there is a big one in my hallway before you leave my house.

    You’re sure you want to hold your mirror while you know you will see all that hair growing out of your ear? Oh, I don’t think I wanted to know that!

    Spiritual mirror? Don’t like it. I don’t always look good when I see myself and don’t know how to make me look good. And those 2×4 are heavy. But wait, I have Jesus. Thank You Lord for helping get rid off it and know I’m not better than the other. Although I don’t have hair growing on unnatural places. Scary!

  5. This is a tough post. In college, I was very “opinionated” as well. I would purposefully write my papers in such a way, that people would know my view point and it would open a way up for a debate.

    The whole mirror idea is awesome!

  6. Sounds like you and I are a lot a like. I was the one who was always right politically and in every other area of life. Thank God he has smoothed out some of those rough edges and got a few planks out of my eyes!

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