Truth and Irony

Behind the frowns of life there is a smile of grace

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Caution, Narrow Ahead

A sure conversation stopper, an ace in the hole, something that will give one an advantage over another in conversation is to play the narrowness card. When the narrowness card is played, it spells almost certain defeat in debate for the opponent. I have always found that critique a bit unsettling. What is it that actually makes a person narrow in his or her views? Who gets to decide what is narrow and intolerant or what is broad and accepting? Narrowness in reality seems to be a subjective judgment. That is, one is narrow by the standard of the accuser because there is no objective standard of narrowness by which to measure narrowness.

As it is often defined, being narrow means that one is not open to other views. Typically, associated with the idea of narrowness is intolerance. Of course, my first question when I hear accusations of narrowness and intolerance is, by what standard is the narrow person being judged? My second question is, what does that say about the accuser, that he/she is accusing someone of being narrow for not accepting all beliefs equally? For as is plain, the accuser is also not accepting all beliefs as valid. It seems a bit hypocritical. By definition, being narrow is having a very focused system of belief. Wouldn’t it be correct then to say that we are all narrow to some degree or another?

Whatever the popular opinion might be, Jesus absolutely intended us to be narrow in our system of belief. Consider what He said in John 14:6, I Am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father except through me. Consider what the apostles affirmed in Acts 4:12, speaking of Jesus, they said, And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. The Bible is filled with the idea that the God of the Bible is the only hope of salvation. Now, does believing this make a person more narrow than the person who pushes the belief that to believe in the Bible is wrong? Absolutely not! The person who accuses the Biblical Christian of narrowness is just as narrow because they are assuming that their own form of belief is right.

Now, to be fair, our belief must be a one-way street, but the manifestation of that belief must be a six lane interstate. That is, the object of our faith and hope must be Christ alone, but the love of Christ, that redemptive love that we have been shown, must be extended to the world. Our minds must be singularly focused on Jesus Christ, and our hearts must be open to love His church and the people of this world through sacrificial service. Having a singular commitment to Christ can never be devoid of a commitment to love our neighbor. The most loving thing we can do for our neighbor is to share the gospel with them both in how we live, and the message that we speak. The most damaging thing we can do to our neighbor is to abandon the simple truth of the gospel in an attempt to make the Christian life more palatable. This world needs the abosolute Truth to conquer the lie, it needs the Redeemer of souls to deliver it from sin, and it needs the Resurrection and the Life to restore life. The world needs the narrow truth to conquer a broad dominion.