The Value of the Contrary Voice

9 09 2020

I don’t like it when people disagree with me, and I don’t like hearing things that don’t align with my perspective on the world.

I was on twitter this morning, and came across a pastor that was posting things that I didn’t agree with.  Do you know my first thought?  “I should un-follow this guy.  I don’t need this kind of stuff on my Twitter feed.”

Why did I want to mute this guys voice?  Because he was saying things that I didn’t like and felt were misguided.  He didn’t see the world like I see the world.  His perspective didn’t align with my perspective. This always seems to make me uncomfortable.  It makes us all uncomfortable.

You see, we all feel as if our view of the world is the right view.  I have reasons for why I hold to the perspectives I have… and you have reasons why you hold the perspectives that you have.  Here’s the thing.  Our perspectives are probably not exactly the same.  

On any given issue, from my vantage point, my ideas are rational, measured, and well considered.  If I didn’t think I was right, I wouldn’t hold to that perspective.  But here’s the problem.  We all are thinking the exact same thing. 

So the big question is this. Do we have the grace and the humility to hold our personal perspectives with an open hand, considering that, just possibly, another voice might actually help me establish a more “Truth-Driven” perspective?

Years ago I was talking with a fellow pastor who remarked that he refused to listen to any messages from certain Pastors that held to a specific theological ideology because he disagreed with it. Just a few weeks ago I overheard a conversation about a person who de-friended a family member because of their constant posting of political views that they didn’t espouse to. Even I had to stop myself from “unfollowing” a Pastor friend on twitter because of his constant posts that are contrary to my views on the world

This should bother us.  How can we be so dogmatic about our positions, so critical of the contrary voice, if we can’t even listen for a moment to the voice on the other side?  Would a warning such as Paul’s in 2 Timothy 4:3, give us any kind of challenge in this regard? 

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”


If I only watch FoxNews, because their perspective aligns with mine, but I refuse to watch CNN because they are “Fake News”, am I any different than those who only will listen to “what their itching ears want to hear”?

Or if I only watch CNN or MSNBC, because I align with their perspective, and refuse to watch FoxNews because it is a “Right Wing Propaganda machine”, how am I not like these that Paul warns us about?

I am not suggesting that we compromise our beliefs, nor am I suggesting that we allow biblical truth to be eroded or shaped by un-biblical perspectives, but could it be that we’ve allowed ourselves to become like the Pharisees, who became so theologically and ideologically hardened that when the Truth showed up to confront their misguided perspective of God and the Law, that they did everything in their power to “unfollow”, “mute” and even “de-platform” his voice?

As a follower of Jesus, I must also be a follower of the Truth.  Not my perspective on the Truth, not what aligns with political or societal norms, not what is traditional, not what is comfortable, and not what is popular.  To do this, I must be willing to listen to the contrary voice.  

I have a little saying that I often use with my staff.  “You will know if an idea is “Golden” if it can stand up to the heat of scrutiny.”  Just as Gold is refined through fire, so ideas and perspectives are refined through honest, and thorough evaluation.  If your idea can’t stand up to the contrary voice without breaking down into an emotional or irrational response, then your idea, posture or perspective might not be as “Golden” as you think.

I’m working hard to be a guy who doesn’t just “mute” the contrary voice, but to let other perspectives challenge, reveal, and inform my own.  I’ll be honest, this is a struggle, but I am discovering that it is important.  If I want to be a follower of the TRUTH then I can’t just assume I have it.  I have to let my perspectives be tested and proven (Romans 12:2, Philippians 2:12) through the challenge of the Contrary Voice.

It’s not easy, but we need to learn not to be fearful of opinions that are different than ours and allow our perspectives to be challenged by the perspectives of others, because as uncomfortable as it might be… who knows… that contrary voice might be the voice of Jesus.