my ignorance

My Hispanic neighbors across the street are consistently engaged in managing their business and chasing after their adorable, young children.

My gay friends on the corner take some glorious, fantastic vacations.

The married professionals next door are gone a lot; we don’t talk as much as any of us would like.

And the single, black mom down the block has an incredibly full plate.

Each of us experience the world differently. And that’s just on my small street.

What would happen if we actually took the time to listen to people who don’t experience the world the way we do? I mean, their experience is their reality, which means their passions, convictions, and opinions will also be different… no doubt based upon the authentic lens through which each sees life.

What if we listened to…

Adolescents and elderly…

Christians and non-Christians…

College-educated and GED grads…

White collar and blue collar…

Gay and straight…

Black and white…

Married and single…

English and French…

Citizens and immigrants…

Iowans and New Yorkers…

Buckeyes and Wolverines…

Abled and disabled…

And so many more?

And what if we not only listened, but learned? What if we were more curious?

Well-known atheist, Sam Harris, once profoundly stated, “Pay attention to the frontiers of your ignorance,” which means we all (he, too) possess areas of ignorance. Maybe we are aware of them; maybe we aren’t.

Hence, what if we were students and not just critics of one another?

What if we were students of the different?

How many times have we overheard one say or even say it ourselves, “I can’t believe it! How in the world can someone actually think like that?!”

The reality is that when we don’t understand how another person can believe or behave the way they do, it is we who don’t understand. We don’t understand the realities of another and how they experience the world.

So if we are going to love our neighbor well, we need to listen and learn from others. If we are going to minimize the ignorance in our own lives, we need to ask good questions and seek to understand. We need to seek out and engage with those who are different than us… the citizens and immigrants, black and white, Democrats and Republicans, etc. Otherwise we are going to be guilty of discounting every bit of information that doesn’t fit perfectly in our current, narrow world view. We will only add to our own ignorance.

Let me be gently but boldly more clear: each of our world views are narrow. Each are incomplete. In fact, our world views are incapable of being completely complete on this planet.

As I overheard last weekend, “Everybody’s behavior makes perfect sense to them. Everybody’s politics makes perfect sense to them.”

Again, when we don’t understand another, that says more about us than about them. 

Let’s listen and learn from all of the above.

Respectfully…

AR

2 Replies to “my ignorance”

  1. Thanks for speaking truth in a loving, grace giving way….amazing how our perspective is so tunnel visioned to our own world. Wonderful growth opportunities for all of us.
    Celebrating our unique differences and thankful to the Giver of them!

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