Willing To Be Wrong
I listened to this great TED talk yesterday on the topic of being wrong. Kathryn Schulz talked about how we as Americans have a pull towards believing that we are right about literally everything. Because discovering we are wrong creates so much negative emotion in us, we prefer to live in a world where we are always right.
This got me thinking about how essential it is to have the posture of a learner when working with Destino. People need to have an attitude that allows for them to actually be wrong about many of the ways they have viewed ministry.
My husband and I celebrated our 7th Anniversary yesterday. As we talked about what our life has looked like these last 7 years, we realized how often we had been wrong about where we would end up. When we first married, we thought we were going to live overseas forever and raise our kids in a Muslim country. A few short stint years later, we found ourselves back in America working with Latinos. We never would have guessed that. Then he said , “But living overseas did the impossible in us. It taught us how to imagine a different reality.” Another way to say that is that it taught us how to be wrong.
Before living overseas, we thought that the church was about a building. But after watching believers that had to meet in apartments and move the location each month to stay ahead of the police, we learned that church is about the community of believers continuing to meet together despite the cost.
We also thought that learning how to study God’s word, particularly through inductive study, was the way to grow in intimacy with God. But then we met believers like Murat. Although he could barely read and write in Russian, he was leading a vibrant church in a place where militant Islamists had already threatened to take his life. He struggled though his IBS course, but that didn’t matter. He was applying what he knew of God to his life, and he was experiencing an intimacy with the Lord that we weren’t. That’s when it clicked that the Christian life isn’t about depth of knowledge but depth of application.
These are just a couple of examples of the ways God changed us when when we did cross-cultural ministry for the first time. We were willing to be wrong which allowed us to grow in our understanding of God. Destino continues to teach us this truth as well.
So what about you? What are some ways God has changed you and your views while doing cross-cultural ministry? I really believe that if we enter into a different cultural context with an open heart, God will expand and enrich our view him. Abandoning our need to be right all the time is worth it.