We must not seek to defeat or humiliate the enemy but to win his friendship and understanding. At times we are able to humiliate our worst enemy. Inevitable, his weak moments come and we are able to thrust in his side the spear of defeat. But this we must not do. Every word and deed much contribute to an understanding with the enemy and release those vast reservoirs of goodwill that have been blocked by impenetrable walls of hate…We love our enemies by realizing that they are not totally biased and that they are not beyond the reach of God’s redemptive love. (Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love)
This challenges each of us. We might not listen. We might excuse and rationalize. We might argue and defend. We might dissect and discuss to the extent the process becomes more important than the point.
We do that with so many things in our lives. We are faced with something challenging (or something we simply don’t like), and we begin to list why it should be discounted, why it doesn’t fit the circumstance, why the foundation is faulty. In the meantime, our process is faulty. Filtering with wisdom is important—but it is only truly effective when we are fervently looking for truth instead of assuming tunnel vision of looking for falsehoods, misconceptions, or faulty reasoning. We focus so much on what might be wrong that we ignore what is right. We need to know truth well enough to see it in a variety of circumstances, even those that surprise us or make us uncomfortable. When we are too accustomed to primarily look for falsehoods, we’ll look sight of the context of truth. We will create our own context, and our discernment will be distorted.
Let’s do the difficult work of keeping our minds aware, our hearts soft, and our souls securely connected to God—his truth, his character, and his will.