Are You Sure?

It's never as easy as you think it should be. All those beliefs and opinions you have that you hold as unchangeable -- those are just a few life circumstances away from being changed.

By you. On purpose.

What you thought was clearly black and white is now shades of gray.

I remember one such story vividly:

Before I was the businessman that I am now, I spent 3 years in seminary studying New Testament Greek theology. It was an extremely conservative Baptist study of the Bible.

One of the hot button topics that was frequently discussed was homosexuality. I was taught, along with hundreds of other students studying theology there, that the LGBT lifestyle was a choice -- a deliberate way of living based on perverted sexual preferences.

That's what I was taught. Quite simply, those people were going straight to hell. No chance of redemption whatsoever.

At the end of my third year, I was asked not to return to that seminary due to my views -- that differed from the positions of the faculty.

I often wondered while in seminary and then in the years afterwards whether my extremely conservative Baptist seminary peers actually believed the things that came out of their mouth.

So much hate and anger. It was hard to reconcile with the love and compassion that originally attracted me to seminary.

A few years after I left seminary I learned through alumni that one of my fellow students, 5 or 6 years ahead of me in school, was stepping down from his pulpit in a very large church he had built.  The reason for him stepping down was a lesson that I've never forgotten.

His daughter came out to him as being gay.

His daughter whom he had raised with Godly values, and professed to be a believer just like him, finally developed the courage to admit what she had been struggling with her entire life. She was gay. 

After more than a decade of raining down fire-and-brimstone from the pulpit, ranting about "lesbos and queers going straight to hell", my seminary friend found his unchangeable views quite changed.

By someone that he loved deeply. By someone that he knew shared similar beliefs about God, the universe, and the reason for living. He could no longer reconcile his views and so he was stepping down. 

When I spoke to him some time later, I asked how something that was so clearly black-and-white in years past could have been gray so suddenly.

His answer to me was simple. "I thought I knew the answer, but love ultimately forced me to reconsider." He would go on to tell me that he "doesn't expect others to understand and isn't trying to convince anyone else to change their beliefs."

"This is personal."

He thought he was sure.  He thought he knew what he knew. There was nothing left to question. Nothing to doubt.

Until there was.

Maybe what you think is right, isn't so right after all.

Maybe you won't change because you're afraid you'll have been wrong this whole time.

Whether it's a business strategy that needs to be updated or a character flaw that needs to be patched -- be willing to change.

Don't be so sure you're right that you waste your whole life doing the wrong thing.

Be sure that you're willing to learn and grow and adapt -- no matter how wrong it feels at the time.