Construction Site Sign
A safe man is careful with: His life! (cont'd)
A MAN AND HIS DOGMA
I've been a very dogmatic person in my life. And my dogma bites. You name it and I've been dogmatic about it: abortion, homosexuality, pre/post/amillenial rapture, baptism, Calvinism/Arminianism, conservative/liberal, gun control, the Iraqi war, as well as which way the toilet paper should roll off the holder (under-don't even get me started!). I'm dogmatic about my pet peeves. People who drive crazy, people who cut in lines, people who cna't spell, people who are dull and rappers had all better watch out.
But, I have this friend who is now a graduate of Oxford University (you know who you are, wink). He has this annoying habit of asking probing questions that challenge my dogma. I say annoying because it makes me think hard about what I believe and challenges my life's paradigms. Annoying as it may be, I've come to see it as very helpful in clarifying and even changing my mind and heart.
The problem is that all this dogma has created a hard, critical, judgmental heart in me. I find fault in others because they don't believe the way I do. This leaves me in the awkward position of loving people conditionally; embracing them if they believe like I do and thinking less of them if they don't. And frankly, as my Oxford friend has so annoyingly brought to light, I can't even defend my own beliefs very well. The people that were bitten most and hardest by my dogma were those closest to me; my wife and children.
This does not sound like a very carefully Christlike life, does it? That's because it isn't. With God's help and a changed heart I'm endeavoring to check myself when I have "strong feelings" about any subject and making sure that I'm not causing harm in other people's spirits for no good reason at all.