|When I first started seminary, I studied systematic theology under professor Ray Anderson. At Fuller Seminary, he was a legend as a prolific author of both academic and popular books. I didn’t know this, but he taught the opposite of whatever you believed. If you believed in charismatic gifts, he did not, but if you didn’t believe in charismatic gifts, he did. If you were a Calvinist, he was the opposite, and if you were against Catholics, he was Catholic. In most cases, he simply asked questions and never clued you in on his method of teaching.
I remember getting into an argument with him in front of the class to the point where I finally stood up, yelling and quoting the Bible. He was steadily playing a role to see if I could defend my position! My defense was not good, but like many people these days, I unwisely became angry and began yelling. Later that day he invited me for coffee and pie and we became friends by the end of that course. With his astute intelligence, he could have easily dismantled me and embarrassed me in front of everyone, but he didn’t.
Friend, it’s easy for pride and ego to get in the way, isn’t it? It’s especially frustrating when you don’t feel heard. First and foremost, we each want to be heard. My greatest gratitude is that I’ve always had merciful people in my life who forgave me and walked with me through the good and the bad times — even when I have been ignorant, angry, or passionate and blundered. It is possible for you to be that person to someone you know. Today, you can become that person who makes a difference in the world!