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Perspectives

In his message today, Jack Anderson, Care Pastor at Lee's Summit Community Church, discussed a writing by Thomas Carlyle. Thomas Carlyle wrote the following, "Imagine a man had lived in a cave his entire life, stepping outside for the first time to watch the sun rise. He would watch with rapt astonishment the sight we daily witness with indifference."


The perspective of a person who had lived in a cave their entire life and the perspective of a person who had lived outside for their entire life would most likely be different. The one living in a cave would not experience a sunrise, the smell of fresh rain, or the beauty of a snowfall. The one living outside would not experience the feeling of always being protected from the weather conditions and the security one might feel by being inside all the time.


But just because someone brings a different perspective - just because someone lives in a cave or lives outside all the time, does not mean their perspective is wrong. What if the cave dweller invited the outside dweller inside? What if the outside dweller invited the cave dweller outside? What if the cave dweller helps the outside dweller stay warm? What if the outside dweller helps the cave dweller see a sunrise for the first time?


We are not all going to agree on every single issue all the time. In fact, the best decisions are usually made through debate, compromise, and understanding where others are coming from. But in order to have the best outcomes and superior results, we all have to try and understand each other and do our best to get along.


It's hard, I get it. But how crazy is it that while going through a global pandemic, Americans cannot even seem to come together to battle the virus? Let it sink in for a moment that we have been arguing about masks for many months, and seem to be arguing even more about masks now that several states have ceased mask mandates. But what if those who supported masks understood the position of those who don't like them? What if the anti-maskers stopped to understand why some people feel more comfortable with a mask on and would prefer everyone to wear a mask? I'm only making the point that we can, and we should, try and understand each other. The reason is that there are way bigger issues than masks facing Americans. If we cannot even avoid fighting over a mask, what is next?


So just think about your perspectives, how they were developed, and why you hold them. And if they are important and timeless, hold on to them, promote them, and don't give up on them. But do it with kindness. And try and understand the perspective from someone you may not agree with. How did they develop their perspectives and why do they hold them? Are they important and timeless to that person? Do they differ from your perspectives? If they do, I say good. Learn from that person. Teach them yours. But share with each other. Debate each other if necessary. And do it over a good cup of coffee. It makes everything better!

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