Look Both Ways by Libby Johnson

I often like to spend my mornings working at Phileo’s Coffeehouse downtown. I almost always sit up at the bar in the window, so I can have a “fish-eye’s view” of what’s going on outside, and enjoy the natural light. Recently, as I was sitting in the window working, I looked up and noticed the stop sign at the intersection of Second Avenue and Tenth Street. This particular stop sign has another sign connected to the post which says “Look both ways.”

I guarantee you heard it growing up: “Look both ways before you cross the road.” And although this phrase is typically spoken exclusively to children, this stop sign at the corner of Second Avenue and Tenth Street clearly signifies that adult drivers need the reminder as well.

As we age, we gather, collect and store more and more information and experiences; and while this is a healthy and natural thing, if we’re not careful we run the risk of becoming self-reliant know-it-alls. We can start to believe that we, and we alone, know best. We can start to believe that there is only one way to do things and thus begin to rely on our own self-righteousness and credibility. We forget to look both ways and we make our way our god.

So, what if we adopted a “look both ways” mentality?

I’m not saying that having convictions and beliefs is bad or wrong. Most of the time, it’s just as unhelpful to be a pushover and have no guiding beliefs. It’s okay to ultimately stick to your guns, and there are some things Christians must hold to (like the divinity of Christ, the sovereignty of God, etc.) But, what if we could go into situations where differing beliefs are present with a truly open mind, willing to listen and not just hear, and look both ways in order to come to a conclusion? What if we lived out of a deep humility which understands that the Lord’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8)?

When confronted with differing opinions, we have to remember that all truth is God’s truth, and not forget that this includes the overarching, capital-T truths we find in scripture (love, kindness, justice, etc.), not just the lowercase-t truths that Christians for years have chosen to pick sides on (scripture interpretation, worship preference, etc.). So, my encouragement to all of us this week is to look both ways. If you find yourself in a situation with someone with whose opinions you don’t agree, seek to understand, not to respond. Dig a little deeper and you might find that you don’t believe such different things after all.