"...misled by their own opinions..."
"Many people have been misled by their own opinions; their wrong ideas have warped their judgment."
(Sirach 3:23-25) (From the Apocrypha of the Old Testament)
There are always two sides - or maybe three or more! How quickly I learned that as a young pastor starting out in my career. There were several occasions when someone would share with me a very harsh description of another person or situation. The picture I got of the person was not very flattering. Later, when I had a chance to listen to the other person's side of the story, the picture sometimes (but not always) changed rather dramatically. There were even a few times when I was especially grateful that I didn't act before hearing the other side of the story. Had I jumped to an opinion and acted based on only the first story I heard I might have added even more hurt and confusion to the situation.
Last Friday and Saturday I was speaking at a youth retreat in southern New Jersey. On our way to the retreat we made a quick trip over to the shore where I took the photo above looking from the east as the sun was setting on Barnegat Lighthouse. Barely five minutes earlier I took the photo below of the same lighthouse looking from the west.
What a difference it made to walk around the lighthouse tower and view it from the other side! I've discovered that it's always important to "walk around the tower" to avoid being misled by my own ill-informed opinions and warped judgments. Whether it's another side to a story offered by a second party or a problem that needs an approach from a different perspective, that "walk around the tower" (as I'll forever come to call it after these photos) is critical.
A "walk around the tower" also provides us the opportunity to invite God into the process through prayerful reflection and discernment. "Walking" provides not only a different perspective, but also the opportunity to remember that we need not face and make decisions alone. Whew!!!
I pray that God will remind me to always walk around the tower.
Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Sand Hill United Methodist Church
Boaz, West Virginia
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