Benefit of the Faith

Benefit of the Faith (1,243)

August 19th, 2011

I am often wrong. Matter of fact, I am wrong often enough that I find that when I am in an intelligent mode, I need to question everything I think and do. I’m not talking about scouring my conscience—I am not speaking of becoming insecure about my ability to make a decision. I’m just saying that “wrong” has been my constant companion, and because of that I need to make sure that I do not deflect input that comes my way that might benefit me.

That’s right. I need to give people I meet the benefit of the faith. I need to allow human beings to view my life through their less-than-sympathetic eyes and give what may be a much more accurate rendition of my persona than might pop up in my own view-finder. In other words, I’m not always my own best friend.

We have become a nation of opinion whores. We love to hear the sound of our own voices; we are intoxicated by the gears of our mental processes, grinding out the sausage of our philosophy. But we have forgotten that our fallibility makes us susceptible to stubbornness, which causes us to come across as ignorant and often ridiculous.

I am not trying to tell you that I am without means or brain power. It’s just that lots of times the information required for a given situation is absent from my portfolio. If I am unwilling to procure insight, I will move on my own understanding and have limited, if not disastrous, results.

I do not think we can move forward as a people until we become suspicious and even make fun of our own inclination to have opinions on everything. Since we don’t know everything—which most people would admit—chances are we can’t do everything, which fewer people would admit, which means we probably shouldn’t have an opinion on everything, which very few people would agree with in any way.

No, actually my opinion needs to be replaced by the sharing of my experience. Beginning a discussion with “…in my experience…” is much different than starting it out with “…in my opinion.” Because when we have an opinion, we think we have to back it up with the Bible, some moral code, the U.S. Constitution or a book of etiquette. But “my experience” is just that—it’s my experience. And since my experience is growing, it requires information.

I have never seen an opinion that’s looking for anything but allies. I’ve never heard an opinion that is requesting further revelation. Experience, on the other hand, admits that because we’ve already encountered a scenario in our lives, then we just might be prepared to be shown a different path.

Once I establish my experience and communicate that I need more information, I must recognize that information comes from the outside—and generally speaking, that which comes from outside myself dwells in a world called “different.” And “different” is actually the reason that most people have opinions in the first place. They are so frightened of foreign ideas that they close the door to difference—letting everyone know that they’ve already made up their minds.

But experience requires information. And darned tootin’—you’d better know that information always comes from the outside, wherein abides difference. And the reason most people don’t want to deal with “different” is that it demands change. If we are going to live with other human beings, we must relieve ourselves of the need to have opinions and instead merely state our experience, knowing that new information may revise that perspective and that something different will come into our lives, creating change.

It’s called “giving it the benefit of the faith”— because faith is what we hope for. It’s the idea that even though our life is fine, it could be made better by smarter things. To have that kind of hope, we must initiate a lifestyle that pursues the evidence of things we have not yet seen.

A man walked up to me the other night and said, “I’ve seen it all.” Well, let me tell you—I’ve been around the block a time or two myself, but I’m always finding new neighborhoods I missed on the first go-around.

The benefit of the faith—it demands that I get rid of so many opinions and share my experience, knowing that it will be enhanced by better information from a different source that just might request that I change a thing or two.

Published in: on August 19, 2011 at 1:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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