What would you say if someone approached and asked you if you are narrow-minded? Most of us would instinctively and impulsively respond, “Absolutely not.” But, perhaps we should re-consider our answer.
The phrase “narrow-minded” often conjures up all kinds of negative feelings and undesirable nouns to go with it: Bigot, Homophobe, Misogynist, Islamophobe, and Racist just to name a few. We have been conditioned to believe that the more open our mind is, the better person we are. What is surprising, is that God disagrees.
A fundamental Christian value is that of the Imago Dei. It is Latin for “Image of God,” and is supported by a number of Biblical passages too lengthy to explore here. The principle instructs us that everyone regardless of race, color, creed, or any other man-made dividing line, is made in the image of God. As such, God demands that we honor, respect and love them.
In simple language, it doesn’t matter what you believe, how you choose to live your life, or even what you do to me, I am commanded by my Lord to love, honor and respect you as a human being who is the very image and reflection of God. What the Bible does not demand, or even expect however, is for me to agree with, or support, everything you do or say. In fact, passages such as Romans 1:32 warns us not to do anything that encourages the unbiblical lifestyles of others:
They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too. Romans 1:32 (NLT)
Instead of buying into everything, we are commanded and warned by Scripture to be very discerning of what we accept in our own lives and what we celebrate in others. God tells us that the way to enter God’s Kingdom is not a popular one. Scripture also tells us that the road to Hell is very popular. So before we get too excited about not having a narrow-mind, perhaps we should read what Jesus has to say:
“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” Matthew 7:13-14 (NLT)
Am I narrow-minded? I certainly pray that I am. I pray you are too!