Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Owner Of Truth - Rigid Not Relational

One of the necessary qualities of a good relationship (or just plain getting along with people in general) is the ability to be flexible. Relationships thrive when there is an attitude of openness, not just toward decisions, but also in ideas and perspective.

Rigidity kills dialog, and dialog is necessary for mutual respect. And mutual respect is necessary for a close relationship. This does not mean you have to agree with the other person’s conclusions. It means that you are open to hearing them and giving weight to them and be willing to compromise when an action step is required.

I am not advocating chaos, which is the polar opposite of rigidity. Life needs order and structure – just not too much or too little. In Christ’s time the Pharisees were the picture of rigidity – rules and regulations to be followed without compromise. But Jesus was all about love. He put people first – over schedules and the material aspects of life. He, however, was not without structure – he always kept his mission and purpose in mind.

The lack of flexibility can come from what might be called ‘truth owning’. This is the belief that ‘I am right and you are wrong’ – and so you must conform to my ways.

People that hold this belief too tightly are relational hazards. 

They can become angry, sometimes very angry, when others do not recognize and surrender to their ‘truth’. They can become dictators in their own family or work place, and people will tend to avoid them or ‘walk on eggshells’ around them.

If you are one of these truth owners, you have some work to do. You must make modifications to your belief system. Only God is the source or owner of ultimate Truth. Our truth is our perspective and opinion. 

Sometimes rigidity may come from an obsessive-compulsive nature that needs to be brought under control. If you are unable to do that on your own then you may need help. When your belief is that it does not need to be brought under control (because I am right, and if everyone was like me the world would be a better place) then you may be dealing with a personality issue that needs even deeper help.

Proverbs 16:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.

So, where are you on the flexibility scale?  

1 comment:

  1. I guess the first word that comes to mind when I read your blog on rigidity in relationships is "humility". Too loose or too tight a grip of one's ideas of truth would seem to invite an either chaotic or pharisaical perspective. Humility, that awareness of ones great need for God and others in shaping truth, seems to be an essential virtue in remaining open to different ideas. It is only in tolerating another view that the mind and heart are expanded and enriched, even if in the end one adheres to his/her original perspective. It is also an effective and necessary way that our ever lurking pride is confronted. There is something beautifully trusting about being willing to listen and understand another point of view. It acknowledges and rests secure in God's grip on Truth, thereby allowing others to be used in our formation.