Calvin, a friend of mine, worked in the Big Stick Community pasture in SW Saskatchewan, and I was helping him bring a half dozen pair into the corrals to do some sorting. To get there we had to cross a large hay field that had a couple of old irrigation ditches across it. They were about eight to ten feet deep and maybe twenty feet across. The most direct route to the corrals meant crossing through these ditches but they were dry and we were able to push the cows through them with little difficulty. Except for one cow. She balked and then spun and bolted back the way we had come. We had closed the gate on the hay field and since all the other cows were already through the ditch we decided to keep pushing them in and then go back for this obstinate one.
When we returned for her she was a little wound up from being by herself but still would not go into the ditch. Every time we got her to the edge she would spin off one way or the other. Finally I got right on her rump and pushed her hard towards the ditch. Every time she tried to spin my horse was right there cutting her back. I was determined I would not let her squirt out again but she was determined not to go into that trench.
At that point I should have realized that the fight in her eyes was getting to the point where she would rather go through me rather than the canal , but I had gotten the blinders on myself so bad that all I could see was the one way of getting her home – through the ditch. Fortunately Calvin stopped me and suggested we take her the long way around, which was an extra mile but meant we didn’t have to get her to cross a ditch.
We get that way at times with each other, even in our churches. (Maybe especially in our churches.) We get hung up on one way of looking at a situation or one way of doing things and, dag-nab-it, that’s the way it’s got to be. Two verses come to mind on this. First in John 13:35 where Jesus said that people will know we are Christ followers by how we love each other. Not because we always agree, but by how we treat each other especially when we disagree. The second verse is in Philippians 3:15 where Paul says that those who are spiritually mature will generally agree on things, but that you think differently he trusts God to make it clear to you.
We can discuss, and debate and challenge each other’s thinking, but it’s not my responsibility change you; that’s up to God and I need to trust him to do that. Of course it’s entirely possible it will be my own blinders that he removes.