Somebody gave me this picture of what happens in a kid’s life when they’re young, and it’s always stuck with me:
You spend years as a parent “dressing” a child, teaching them core beliefs. And at some point, that child will take off that coat of your teaching, turn it around, look at, evaluate.
Does it fit? Is it my color? My style? Is this what I want to wear?
They’ll decide if they want to continue to dress using the same clothes you’ve placed on them their whole lives.
As terrifying as that stage must be for a parent, it’s an incredibly important stage for a child.
I’d propose that we not lose that stage.
I’d suggest that we consider reconsidering.
Have you ever asked yourself: “What do I believe, anyway? And why do I believe it? Is it really true? What if it’s not?”
1. It’s respectful.
When you share your faith with someone with a hope that they’ll follow Christ, you’re asking them to reconsider their core beliefs, abandon at least some of them, and accept an entirely different worldview. That’s an enormous thing to request of even your closest friend.
If that’s what we’re asking of them, shouldn’t we have the courtesy of having asked the same thing of ourselves?
Knowing that we’ve gone through this same difficult and intentional process gains massive credibility and respect as we interact with others about our own faith.
2. It helps us communicate. Respectfully.
When you go to another country where you don’t speak the language, the common joke is that, to effectively communicate, you just speak louder and slower in your own language.
Unfortunately, that’s what Christians tend to do when talking to those outside the church. Bigger billboards, more bumper stickers, T-shirts with Bible verses and Christian sayings on them – continuing to use our language in louder and more obnoxious ways in hopes that somehow, the message will “get through.”
Reconsidering our own point of view in light of theirs helps more effectively communicate without using Christian jargon.
3. It helps us grow.
There’s a natural fear of reconsidering.
You might hear this challenge as “You should believe something other than what you already do.”
Instead, just like you’d tell your kids to “at least try everything on your plate just once,” I’d commend you to consider everything. Listen to all the points of view around you…even your own. Test them. Really hear them. Run them against a baseline.
What bits might be worth something?
What might be worth reconsidering?
What might you believe that’s based on what you’ve been taught more than what you’ve personally learned?
What might you automatically reject that might actually hold truth and validity?
Engage in this not just once, but as a continual process. Because, unlike the kid with the coat, you’re dressed in layers at this stage of your life. This is not a one-time event, but a life-long habit.
After re-considering, you may very well land exactly where you are now.
You may find that your core beliefs and the way you communicate them are exactly where they should be.
But you may feel parts of you stretched and challenged. And that’s good. Why?
When a muscle is built, it does so because it’s challenged.
It has extra force applied to it that tears it, and in the re-building period, it grows and gets stronger.
And when that exercise happens, it’s not just done unilaterally through one movement.
All those machines at the gym exist so that the muscle group can be stretched in multiple directions for greatest bi-lateral strength.
So, exercise your faith. Not simply by enduring difficult times, but by doing the hard work of reconsidering, down to the core of what you believe, testing it to ensure that it is good, strong, pure and effective.