David and his men continued on the road, while Shimei kept up with them on the hillside, all the while cursing and throwing stones and dirt as he went. 2 Samuel 16:13
Every morning I read Bob Goff’s Live in Grace, Walk in Love devotional. In several reflections, he talks about how we tend to gravitate toward people who are like us, and away from those who aren’t. He believes we miss so much by not exposing ourselves to, and learning from, those who think differently.
I don’t know about you, but this was a message I needed to hear.
In 2 Samuel 16, Shimei approached King David, throwing curses and stones at him and his entourage. When the soldiers wanted to cut off Shimeai’s head, David stopped them. It’s as if he suddenly saw the benefit of being challenged by a different perspective.
If we drop our defenses, and truly listen to those who are different from us, with different viewpoints, it’s possible we’ll see things differently too. I’m not saying we become so malleable we allow anyone we meet to reshape our thinking.
I am saying that God places people in our lives to impact us, and for us to impact. There’s so much we can learn from each other while still keeping the foundation of faith we’ve built over the years. St. Francis knew this when he met with the Muslim Sultan. Jesus knew this when He met with the tax collectors and prostitutes.
Of course it’s a challenge when the other is cursing us and naming our mistakes, like Shimei did with David. He was holding up a hard mirror for David to look into.
But when we look in any mirror, we need to see ourselves the way God sees us: all beautiful, but perhaps with past mistakes that need to be corrected, a closed mind that needs to be opened for His grace to pour in, and an incomplete masterpiece that could be enhanced if we opened ourselves up to the people He sends to us.
Questions for Reflection:
* Do I welcome in people who are different from me? If not, why not?
* Do I see any benefit in opening myself up to people who think differently than I do?
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