Assuming the Best in a Skeptic’s World

Asking Jesus for forgivenessAlthough I’ve been trying to behave and not spend my birthday surfing the web (since I am blessed with a family that is far better than anything the Internet can offer), this tweet intrigued me:

I took it as Ravi Zacharias endorsing the statement…a head scratcher for me. So, I followed the link to this article:

“On the Critical Need for Constructive Thinkers”

First, without the 140 character limit of Twitter, here is the full quote:

In our own day, skepticism has replaced the pursuit of excellence as the defining characteristic of great thinkers, and this is of far more than passing significance.

You really ought to read the whole thing, but a couple of key quotes:

Our infatuation with critical inquiry has disrupted a necessary balance in our education system. Unchecked skepticism will always stifle the creativity necessary for lasting cultural contributions because it draws all its energy from a source of pure negation.

Seem true of dialogue across the whole spectrum in America doesn’t it? Education, politics, entertainment, news…and even interactions between Christians…everything “draws its energy of a source of pure negation.”

However, this is what really stood out to me:

Students adept at unmasking, debunking, and calling into question the prevailing assumptions of a given author or tradition are highly prized in this environment. But the complimentary pursuit of giving the benefit of the doubt, or even a sympathetic reading to these same authors and traditions continues to wane.

We refuse to give our “opponents” the benefit of the doubt. We never are willing to assume the best.

I have no scriptural smoking gun to prove we should always assume the best (at least initially), but for your consideration:

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, English Standard Version, emphasis mine).

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others (Philippians 2:3-4).

Lord, forgive me for assuming the worst when I should be assuming the best. Give me the heart of love to bear all things…to count others more significant than myself…and to look to the interests of others…”opponents” or not.

P.S. You may also want to check out the sermon notes or audio for my sermon, “And Who Is My Brother?”


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