Friday, September 5, 2014
One of the things that I believe makes a conversation fulfilling is when people can talk on one topic and honestly share their thoughts, opinions and feelings without the pressure of feeling judged or boxed in. Such discussions are enriched because they are infused with authenticity and thus prove themselves to be productive because everyone involved gets to either learn or teach something. I love that in all of this we get to exercise the freedom of one's will to choose what we take away from each encounter, no matter on which side of the spectrum we stand.
Yes, the 'spectrum' is commonly used to express a broad range of conditions, behaviours or experiences with extremes on either end. The wonderful human experience provides large range of those experiences and opinions on any given topic, which makes our existence so exciting and entertaining. When we connect in a conversation and respectfully allow the other person to express where they stand on that spectrum and in return being able to safely express our position - that is the ultimate experience in verbal exchange. So much can be learned and expressed which can actually lead to achieving the common goal of exploring and arriving at the Ultimate Truth.
The problem with the way conversations often go, making them unproductive and unfulfilling, lies with the fact that someone would try to bring the other to their side of the spectrum on whatever is being discussed. Sometimes it is done so forcefully and disrespectfully that it only causes people to put up walls and become deaf to the opposing point of view. We tend to forget that we get to choose where we want to stand on any given issue and topic.
As I was talking to my new friend, it was really interesting to engage as we explored the questions of life and spirituality. My companion was actually an agnostic and was very humble and respectful in the way he explained where and why he stands on the issue of spirituality. Based on the way conversation went I would hope that my views and convictions were not shared in a way that would make him feel pressured to believe the same.
One of the things I believe we are called to do as believers is share the Gospel. However, I am learning more and more that it is not us who really change the hearts of people, it is the Holy Spirit Himself that does that. Jesus never forced anyone to accept the Truth, He just proclaimed it, lived it and showed it through love and compassion, even when His own did not accept Him. In fact, the advice He gave to His disciples was that if anyone was not to receive or listen to the message, they were to shake the dust off their feet and move on from that house or town (Matthew 10:14).
Although we are called to spread the message of the Good News, we are never called to force anyone to believe it. It is each person's decision to choose where they will stand in the colourful spectrum of life and faith. I am glad that Jesus is the point of reference in my deciding spectrum. He is my Constant beam of light...
...and for that I am thankful.