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Delighting in my God, I desire to dwell in His pleasure and to help others experience true delight.

"Delight Yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
And He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your judgment as the noonday.  
Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him;..." Ps 37:4-7a

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What is Your Definition of Open-mindedness?

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There is a lot of talk about tolerance of all and about being open-minded to new views, those other than your own.  What does it mean, though, to be open-minded?  Do we confuse the two, tolerance and open-mindedness? 

According to the dictionary, to be open-minded is to be "willing to consider new ideas, unprejudiced, non-judgmental".  However, if you think about it to its conclusion, to what end do we want to be open?  Do we want to be open to new ideas just to be pulled in any direction?  Is it good to be open to anything without any thought given to it?  Should I not ponder to what I am opening up and come to some conclusion as to its value?  Should I not consider whether it contributes to my understanding of truth and how to communicate truth to those who may be "open" to falsehood?


I am not talking about preferences, jewelry or no jewelry, long hair or short hair, dressy or casual, which flavor I prefer or do I do it one way or another.  However, when it has bearing on life's greater questions, should we not give pause to consider connections to truth?  What we are open to does matter.  What we think and do does matter in the grand scheme of things.  I want to be willing to listen, to hear what you think, but though I don’t want to pass judgement on you to criticize or condemn, I must make a judgement as to whether your ideas are sensible or wise or true.  

Critical thinking is a skill to be desired and cultivated.  To think critically is to evaluate and analyze an issue in order to come to a conclusion as to its relationship to truth.  Yet we get the concept of critical thinking mixed up with that of criticizing, that is expressing disapproval and then not on the ideas being conveyed but on the one conveying.  In so doing we commit the fallacy of equivocation when in fact a little critical thinking and open-mindedness is in order.  It isn’t about ridicule or disrespect, but about having an inquiring mind of one’s own in which we appreciate and consider opposing viewpoints while coming to an understanding of what is best supported by the evidence and leads one to a fuller understanding of truth.

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Tolerating your right to believe what you will does not mean I have to embrace or be open to it as equal to truth.  That is just ridiculous.  It is convoluted.  It's wrong.  Isn't it interesting that those who confuse tolerance and open-mindedness making them one and the same are often the very ones who malign those holding opposing viewpoints to their own with no critical thinking whatsoever.  They don't want tolerance of equal but opposing ideas.  They want submission to their ideas as superior.

So I have come up with my own definition to how I would like to be open-minded.  Here it is. 

 Open-mindedness:  Respectfully listening and considering the ideas of others because I would rather be right than validate my opinion.  

What do you think?  Help me refine my definition if you will or give me your thoughts on what you think being open-minded should look like.  Until then, I do have strong opinions on things, but I am open-minded enough to respectfully listen and consider what you have to say, because I would rather be right than validate my own opinion.


  1. Being open-minded to me means to be open to new ways of exeriencing life, of being open to seeing the world through someone else's eyes, through the lense of their own worldview. But not necessarily to accept what they are seeing as the Gospel truth, but in giving me new eyes to see and understand what has brought that person to their own conclusions, which can sometimes be skewed by the worlds hollow philosophy. In doing this I find I am able to extend love and compassion...grace to other's without necessarily accepting all of the things they espouse as 'truth.'
    That being said...truth is truth. And what is that? IT is not open for redefining. The question, 'What is truth?' is no different today than it was two thousand years ago when Pontius Pilate sarcastically asked this question of Jesus. Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life."
    When we seek to understand who we are and who God is from His word...to understand why we are here, what went wrong, and how is that redeemed(fixed), we begin to understand and see the word around us through the lense of God's Word and develop a biblical wordview. Doing this can help us to be open-minded without being susceptable to the lies of the enemy.
    Does all of that even make sense? I hope so.
    Love the post! It is so important for us to think through these things so we are not caught off guard...which can make us appear to be 'judgemental'. You are correct in your assertion that it is better to be right than be intent on validating our own opinions...when we do that we put ourselves on the throne because that need to be right becomes our idol. I heard this today, "The need to be right is worshipping at the altar of self." Whoa...that really hit home!!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog today...I left a comment for you there as well.

  2. Wow, Gay. Thank you for your insightful expansion on my theme. And I appreciate your clarification on being right. I had thought that it woud be clear that I in fact am saying I do not demand to be right in myself, but I want to be closer to what is right in the sense of understanding more completely truth, that truth that is complete in the person of Jesus Christ who does proclaim, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." However, I do want to be right. I don't want to stand on sinking sand or waffle on what I believe is right, but I do want to expand my understanding of what is right and how to communicate what is right. There is a definite wrong and a definite right. Though the statement, "the need to be right is worshipping at the alter of self," has a measure of truth, it coud also be misinterpreted. If we demand that we are right, if we boast in being right, and are prideful, with hands on hips to say, "I am right." and there is no breaking through that lording spirit, then we have raised ourselves to godhood. However, if it is a desire to dwell in the pleasure of God, to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God and in the process to seek to better understand His good and perfect will, then this need to be right I will claim. I am willing to be proven wrong because I want to be in the right. I hope that makes sense. Thank you so much for blessing me with your thoughts and expanding my understanding. God bless, Maria

  3. You have presented this very well. I will be open-minded enough to listen to another side, but if my reasoning tells me that side is wrong and I disagree I expect the other side to be respectful and open-minded enough to hear my side and tolerate my point of view without calling me phobic, ignorant, or some other derogatory term. Be open-minded should apply to both sides and often it isn't seen that way.

    A Faraway View
    An A to Z Co-host blog

  4. Thanks Lee. I am learning a whole lot about a whole lot by spending time visiting your blogs while I am less mobile than usual. I appreciate your adding your wisdom here as well. God bless, Maria

  5. Interesting. Found you on the A-Z site. To me, being open-minded requires some homework on my part (so I'm not ignorant of the issue)and my willingness to listen. Communication only happens when it works both ways.

    1. Agree we have got to be willing to listen without determining ahead that there is nothing to hear. Good thought on homework on my part. Thanks Sharon. God bless, Maria

  6. I'm open-minded up until it bucks God's Laws or man's Laws.

    1. I am with you, Diane. Thanks for stopping by. God bless, Maria


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