The current cultural climate reminded me of a situation I had with my sons when they were growing up. They were each arguing because they felt that their view was the correct view.  They were a few feet apart, as I asked them to hold on just a minute. I retrieved a plain writing tablet and held it up between them so they could each see one side.

I asked my oldest what he saw.
He said, “I see a gray piece of cardboard, with a line of tape across the top.
Turning to his brother, I asked him the same question, “And what do you see?” He replied, “I see a piece of yellow paper with lines on it, and tape across the top.”
I declared, “Well, you cannot both be right, so which one of you is telling a lie?”
I then asked them to switch places and repeated the same set of questions, with similar results, albeit from different kids. I pointed out that from their perspective, they were each right, but when they switched places and saw it from the other’s perspective, they could see a more complete picture of the truth. Neither was completely right or completely wrong.

In our post-modern society, we each declare that we have our own truth. But what is truth? According to the readily available Dictionary.com, truth is:
1. the true or actual state of a matter:
2. conformity with fact or reality; verity:
3. a verified or indisputable face, proposition, principle, or the like:

If two viewpoints disagree, there really can be one of two logical situations:
1. One of the positions is the truth, and the other is not, or
2. Both positions are false to a greater or lesser degree.

It is not possible for both viewpoints to be the truth. And yet today, we find the clamoring often arrives at a point of throwing derogatory or defamatory language at one another, often degenerating into name-calling and labeling. People seem to have forgotten to listen and are only interested in proclaiming their truth.

In the Book of James we read some wise counsel.
James 1:19–20 (NKJV)
So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

In a corporate training class I attended, and then later taught, they taught a really unique perspective. Each of us comes to our values and beliefs through our upbringing, experiences, history, and personality. They are valid to us. If we come to a discussion, accepting that the other person’s view is valid for them, and then seek to learn why there is a difference, we come to a closer place of seeing both sides of the tablet; seeing a more complete view of truth.

Instead of entering into a difference of ideas intent on proclaiming our truth, doesn’t it make more sense that all will be enriched if we enter into the discussion asking questions and seeking to understand. We do not have to agree with one another, or even accept or affirm truth in the other’s views, but at a fundamental level, aren’t we each simply asking for the other to try to see our side of the tablet?

21 thoughts on “Two Sides of a Tablet

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