Dealing with strong mindsets or beliefs

Dealing with strong mindsets or beliefs

One of my greatest opportunities turned into a huge mistake as I lay in my first college dorm room bed. I interjected my beliefs into a conversation with three other freshmen, who like me, already had all the answers. Before the night was over the four different opinions had created a schism between guys who could have started off being great friends. It took a while for the tension to die down enough to the point of civility and collaboration. I didn’t know then, but that dorm room was a microcosm of what I would see in the rest of the world. Not everyone shared the faith of my family. This would impact my future. One’s beliefs can be a point of strength or a bone of contention, depending whom you are talking to. On the other hand, a lack of foundational faith can forever impact a person’s character.

Several days ago we talked about 1 Corinthians 9:22 and the fact that God wants us to adapt to others’ behavior so they can experience Christ. Then we discussed objective and subjective thinkers and what motivates their decisions. The one other thought process which can dominate a person’s personality is their belief system, either internally (self) or externally (a universal process or truth). A person with dominance in either of these two areas can be judgmental, pushy, and relentless in their approach. They can be challenging to deal with. But they also have the capacity to be God’s unquenchable fire!

God gave a strong belief in self to some so they would know they were called to be leaders. Often it is, but at times it is not just ego, but simply an understanding. They know who they are (a fully developed concept of self) but they are without the dark side of the ego. Without that belief in self and what they were called to do, we would not have people like Moses, Jesus, Paul, St. Augustine, Martin Luther, and Billy Graham. God gave others such a strong belief in His purpose and intent for mankind so that they were willing to do things like run around naked for two years (Isaiah), pull out their hair and beard while they sat in ashes (Ezra), and willingly give up their lives (Paul). They have the capacity to become spiritual heroes and worth your investment and love.

The most important thing you can do with this type of individual is to find a way to help them see both sides. Doug McCary of East West Missions and I were leading a small seminary class in Salekhard, Russia. We were training native pastors to minister to the Tundra Indians. Russian Baptists are heavily influenced by Orthodoxy and had a conviction that your salvation is not secure. Previous seminary professors had struggled with how to communicate another view. The day before the last session, God gave me an answer. After dividing the class in half, one side debated eternal security and the other the view of how you can lose your salvation. After lunch we reversed the groups and had each side debate the opposition’s point. By the end of the day, there was openness, honest discussion, and a willingness to consider a concept they had refused to embrace in the past. All it took was providing the opportunity to both prove and listen to opposing views. God will do what He wants to do. You just have to do your part with openness and love while you remain true to your faith.
Love, Dad

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