Why Do You Believe That?
One of the many questions that I am constantly seeking to answer in my own life when it comes to what I believe about life, faith, God, and the world around me, among other things, is simply this:
"Why do I believe that?"
I frequently need an articulate answer when I ask myself that question. More often than not, it comes down to something lame, like "I just do."
Over the years, I've countered that lame answer with further study, reflection, and writing and thinking about the "why" when it comes to my beliefs.
The Daily Devo has been a space for that kind of thing for the past seven years, where those reflections get shared from time to time.
I'm fully aware that I get paid to do this work related to spiritual matters, so there's that.
But digging deeper into our beliefs and why we hold on to them is good and holy work for all of us. When we do this good work, we also discover that sometimes we take on a whole host of unhealthy emotions because of beliefs that have gone unchallenged.
don Miguel Ruiz puts it like this:
That is why we need a great deal of courage to challenge our own beliefs. Because even if we know we didn't choose all these beliefs, it is also true that we agreed to all of them. The agreement is so strong that even if we understand the concept of it not being true, we feel the blame, the guilt, and the shame that occur if we go against these rules.
But I'm also learning that each of us not only needs to be asking our "why" question of ourselves, but we also should find ways to kindly and gently ask it of others, especially when their beliefs seem to be in opposition to our own.
Most people hold their beliefs and opinions tightly, and they don't even know why they believe them or, at the very least, have never fully articulated why.
One of the many ways we can understand one another better and bridge the divisions within our society is by asking good questions, and there is no better question than "Why do you believe that?"
Now, we need to learn to ask that question in a genuinely inquisitive and humble way rather than laced with sarcasm. The point is to disarm and make space or vulnerability instead of creating further barriers.
Asking that simple question opens up the doors for conversation, and even further, might be the very thing that could start someone down the road to transformation.
The person we're asking may hold on to their beliefs so tightly because they fear what it might mean if they didn't. Maybe all they needed was someone to care enough to wonder with them.
May you find moments today and every day from this day to be curious and hopeful as you question yourself and others about your "why." And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.