When I was a child, I spoke and thought
and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now
we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we
will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial
and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now
knows me completely.
Three things will last forever—faith,
hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:11-13.
This passage reminds me that, from my place here on earth, I
now see things imperfectly. My understandings of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
heaven, hell, life, death, the church, and theological arguments are imperfect.
A day will come when I will know everything completely; but for now, I must be
satisfied with limited knowledge. I must be content to seek to live out this
life to the best of my abilities with incomplete information and therefore
recognize that I will likely make some wrong choices compared to the choices I
would make if I had complete knowledge. I am limited by my time and place in
history. I am limited by my intellectual capacity. I am limited by the specific
circumstances of my life. I am limited by what God allows me to discover in
these imperfect times.
So why is it that I have such a tendency to think that I am
right in any and all theological arguments? I do not think I am alone in this.
When we disagree with others there is a great propensity for us to think that
we have the issue all worked out and that all others must be wrong. The way I
see it must be clear, while others are seeing things as if they were “puzzling
reflections in a mirror.” No, I am pretty sure that 1 Corinthians 13 is directed
to the early Church, all other people, and me! This should make me (and you) more
humble in arguments of all types. As Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) once said, “I beseech
you by the bowels of Christ to think it possible that you may be mistaken.”
If today we all see things imperfectly, then let us recognize that
our lives, our homes, our churches, our schools, and our governments will be
imperfect places. We do not yet have a corner on truth. There is only One who
sees things clearly, perfectly, and without error. Therefore, while I am here
on this earth, I will live with greater love for those with whom I disagree.

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