• Rev. Joel L. Tolbert

The Ability to Rethink

The word "rethink" is fairly common. We know what that word means, and hear it used fairly regularly.


At some point, a topic enters our life and we think about it. We weigh the pros and cons. We ask others for suggestions and advice. We research what experts say. We go to Google or Wikipedia. Eventually, we've thought it through. We make up our minds and move on.


Then, one day, we meet someone who shares a new perspective. We hear a podcast, read a book, or scan an article that puts new information before us, information that doesn't fit the way we thought before.


That's a beautiful and challenging moment.


Some will choose to reject. It is easier to only accept new information which matches former thoughts, and to reject new information that doesn't. The learning and growth is over on this path. (I'm watching many in the political arena do this.) The more healthy, beautiful choice is to rethink, to absorb the new and meander our way to a more complete image and understanding of reality.


As a pastor, it's holy ground when someone tells me what they think about God, and wonders what I think. But, I have to be careful. If I give someone new information, they might reject it. They might even reject me for offering it. There's little that breaks this pastor's heart more than being rejected for sharing something also true about God that doesn't fit someone's former thoughts.


Despite that fear, I want all people to have a bigger, fuller picture of who God is, what God is doing, and what God wants. Whenever I am invited to talk about God, I tread lightly, but always risk sharing something new that might lead toward growth.


Today, in your prayers, share with God a few key things you think about God. Then listen. God might put a voice in your mind of someone who thinks differently. God might remind you of a story from scripture that challenges your thoughts. Try not to reject them. If they are from God, about God, they mean you no harm, only hope. Instead, ask God a question or two about them. Wonder about them. If you feel any sense of fear or shame, those you can reject. In relationship and conversation with God, we don't have to be afraid or ashamed. God knows us better than we know ourselves. Let the new truths about God come into you and expand the way you see God, yourself, and others through the author of love itself.


Now blessing, laughter, and loving be yours,

Rev. Joel Tolbert

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