It is so easy to become set in our ways and stubborn, refusing to see the other side of an issue or story. When you are convinced you know something to be right and true it can be so hard to imagine another way. And yet, a look back in history proves that time after time, the beliefs held so closely by a group of people are often challenged and presented with a new truth. What are the beliefs we are holding onto today that will seem so frivolous in 100 years? I’d like to encourage you to think about this and ask God to show you ways to open your heart and mind to see new truths. In case you need another reason to consider this idea, sit back and be inspired by these three examples when the world benefitted from popular views being challenged and even squashed, even if it took hundreds of years!
#1 THE EARTH IS THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE
In 1633 Galileo stood trial before the religious authorities in Rome and was accused of heresy. He had been studying the heavens and determined he could mathematically prove that the sun was the center of the universe and the earth, stars and the moons all circled around the sun just as Copernicus had said. The church did not support this idea because it challenged the popular belief that the earth was the center of the universe and the sun and stars and all the moons that circled around the earth. Galileo was given the option to recant his claims or be burned at the stake. Being a brilliant man, when given those options, he said, “I recant, I must have made a few mistakes in my calculations, maybe I was wrong after all.” He was then banished to be under house arrest for the next nine years until he died. He was unable to teach or publish any of his papers, but he continued to look into the heavens and record his calculations. He couldn’t share these observations with anyone. Of course, now we know that Galileo was right! The church was wrong. The sun is the center of the universe and everything orbits around it. Three hundred and fifty years after the death of Galileo the church admitted to being wrong.
#2 WOMEN CANNOT VOTE
More than 100 years ago on January 12, 1915 legislators were deciding whether women should be allowed to vote. The decision was unanimous, women should not be allowed to vote. Now, imagine if you could speak to these people today and question this decision. You might explain to them that women should be allowed to make a decision to do whatever they feel called by God to do, whether staying at home or working outside the home. You might also try explaining to them that women should be paid the same as men for doing the same jobs. If we went back and said all these things to those legislators 103 years ago they’d be saying, “How can this be?! Of course not! We know the truth, we know reality, women should not vote, they stay home, they raise the children, this is who they are called to be.” And yet 100 years later we look at it and wonder how anyone could ever think this way? There’s a different truth.
#3 SLAVERY IS LEGAL
It was 150 years ago in 1865 when the Civil War ended. It was one of the bloodiest in the history of our country and thousands of people were be killed. Slavery was the main issue of this war. It wasn’t until the 20th Century when people were finally willing to look at the Constitution to see that all people are created equal did not just refer to the white men, but instead to all people. It seems so clear now but in that day it wasn’t so clear. You can go all the way back 2,000 years ago and see that Jesus came with a message that said, “We are all God’s children and all deserve to be treated with respect and to be free.” It has taken us this long to reach a different vision of reality and what should be accepted. We still have so much room for growth in accepting one another as children of God.
Are you and I willing to examine our beliefs about religion and politics in 2018? What are we willing to explore? It can sure be easy to get in a routine, thinking and doing the same things the same way and we may be missing what God is trying to say to us or the life God is trying to lead us into. Are you willing to take seriously, examining your life in the light of God’s grace? God may have a new truth for us, to see things in a new way. Expand your imagination to allow God to speak to your heart and lead you into a meaningful, new life!