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Open-Closed

Greg, Richard, Alanna, Rachel, Alina & Jenna

Is it possible to have an open mind while standing firm in what you believe?

Be Firm but Flexible

In a strong wind, you can feel a skyscraper sway just slightly. If you are stuck in traffic on a long suspension bridge, you can feel the bridge sway. If the skyscraper and the bridge did not sway, they would end up breaking under pressure. Of course, bridges and skyscrapers are also built on solid foundations that go hundreds of feet into the ground. If they weren’t, they would collapse. The same is true for us. We need to build our lives on the solid rock of Jesus Christ so that we will not be moved. But we also need to be flexible at times, to bend just a little so we don’t break under pressure.

—Greg Staples

Be Willing to Listen

Listening Teen TS 117872812A wide-open mind is like a sewer, full of muck; but a rut with both ends closed is a grave. Neither is a healthy place to live—unless you’re a rat! We need solid convictions and faith to inform our opinions and to shape our lives. We also need to listen to other people. Their viewpoints may be challenging, but they help us to learn and grow.

—Richard Lawton

Hold to a Standard

For Christians, being open-minded means we listen to new ideas but we also hold to a standard. The Bible serves as our standard for comparison. Whenever new ideas or opinions come our way, we can find out what the Bible says about them and then decide if they are right or wrong.

“Keep an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out.” —Richard Feynman

—Alanna Love

Be Like Christ

If you force your ideas on people or you don’t listen to other people’s ideas, they often become angry and less likely to listen. So the next time you talk with your non-Christian friends about Christ, listen to them and explain things clearly and gently. Being Christ-like and kind will make people more open to hearing what you have to say.

—Rachel Marshall

Stop Judging and Start Loving

teen comforting friend Ftr TSP 114333866What right do we have to judge others? None at all! Each person is unique, and God uses each person in a unique way. What is right for one person may not be right for someone in a completely different situation, and we can never entirely understand why people make the decisions they make. Only God can do that. I think it’s time for us to open our minds enough to stop judging and start loving.

—Alina Kanaski

Be Open to What God Wants

“Your mom and I are thinking about getting back together.” Whoa! My parents have been divorced for as long as I can remember. Even now, a month after they told me this shocking news, I still don’t know what to think, what to feel, or how to act. I’m asking God to help me keep an open mind. I can’t say yet if I hope my parents get back together, but I can say I hope things work out the way God wants them to.

—Jenna Bevil

 

Next Day Stretch

Believing everything you hear and refusing to listen to new ideas—those are the extremes. Most of us land somewhere in between. What do you do to find a balance, to have an open mind and yet to stand up for what you believe?

—from devozine( May/June 2011). Copyright © 2011 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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