Seeing & Hearing

Civilizations and Governments: Seeing, Hearing and Understanding Wisely

In order for our mature wisdom to abound in knowledge and insight, and be filled with the fruit of righteousness, we need to learn from people who we disagree with by: (1) seeing God’s Amazing Grace at work through the other person; (2) hearing ways we can work together to do for others what we would want them to do for us; and (3) understanding that we should extend the right hand of fellowship in the Way of Jesus to them, even though the focus of their ministries is different from the focus of our ministries.

As we approach the presidential election of 2024, more and more Christians are turning their thoughts to the Bible to guide their actions and decisions.

It always takes wisdom to discern what the Bible says about any topic. And even more so when politics is afoot, twisting and turning the Bible for political advantages.

A good place to start is by teaching ourselves to hear, see and understand with wisdom (Isaiah 6:9-10). This includes treating the ideas of other people with respect, even though we disagree with each other.

Intercollegiate debate was a good training ground for teaching me to listen carefully to opposing ideas and to respect the person advocating those ideas.

We debated as 2-person teams.

No matter how brilliant our ideas and how eloquent our speeches, we could be sure of only one thing. Each time that one of us sat down, a speaker on the other team was immediately going to hop up on their feet and attack our ideas with everything they could think of.

Sometimes, completely contrary to the ground rules for intercollegiate debate, they attacked us as persons and insulted our intelligence.

Only one time did I “lose my cool”. My partner had to step between me and the other team to calm me down—just like you’ve seen basketball players restrain their teammates from getting a personal foul.

Only one time was the other team so nasty that my partner started crying. She never competed in an intercollegiate debate again.

In the future, when I got tired while preparing for upcoming debates, I would think back to seeing my debate partner crying. And I’d keep on working hard so that no debate partner of mine would ever be reduced to tears again.

The Apostle Paul wrote several insights about hearing, seeing and understanding people who disagree with us.

He wrote: “For now, we see in only a reflection as in a mirror. Now I know [only] in part.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)(emphasis added).

Therefore, we need to supplement what we hear, see and understand in part by listening with wisdom to what others hear, see and understand.

The life of Paul furnished an instructive example.

In his letter to the churches in Galatia, Paul told about a visit he made to Jerusalem with Barnabas and Titus.

Paul had been teaching and preaching for fourteen years. Nevertheless, Paul “went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among [non-Jews]. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain.” (Galatians 2:1-2).

By hearing, seeing and understanding each other with wisdom, these leaders of the early church, including James, Peter and John, re-assured Paul that God was at work in him as an apostle to the non-Jews, just as God was at work in James, Peter and John as apostles to the Jews. (Galatians 2:7-8).

They extended Paul the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to him. “All they asked [Paul, Barnabas and Titus] was that [they] should continue to remember the poor, the very thing [Paul] had been eager to do all along.” (Galatians 2:9-10).

Here are clues to how to see, hear and understand wisely.

See God’s Amazing Grace at work through the other person.

Hear ways that you can agree with each other about ways to do for others what you would want them to do for you, such as ways to remember the poor.

Understand that you should extend the right hand to other followers of the Way of Jesus, even if the focus of their ministry (in their case: the Jews) is contrary to the focus of your ministry (in Paul’s case: the non-Jews).

In time, like Paul, you will learn the wisdom of mature believers: “If on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.” (Philippians 3:15).

With such mature wisdom, we will see, hear and understand in ways that fulfill Paul’s prayer:

that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless . . ., filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:9-11).

Civilizations and Governments and the Church Universal must find ways to encourage such mature wisdom gained through seeing, hearing and understanding those who (at least initially) we disagree with.


When have you disagreed with someone else? How? Why?

Even though you disagreed with someone, did you have the mature wisdom to see, hear and understand them respectfully? How? Why?

In time, has God made clear to you that you should change your opinion? How? Why?

In time, has God made clear to them that they should change their opinion? How? Why?

In time, has God made clear to both of you that you should both change your opinions? How? Why?

In time, is your love abounding more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, filled with the fruit of righteousness? How? Why?

In what ways can civilizations, governments, and the Church Universal encourage mature wisdom gained through seeing, hearing and understanding those who (at least initially) we disagree with.


For related thoughts about discerning divisive people who must opposed (in contrast to reasonable people of goodwill who sincerely seek wisdom filled with the fruit of righteousness), please read my blog “Grace and Peace—Titus”.

For thoughts related to these blogs, please read my blogs “Civilizations and Governments: An Independent Path”; “Civilizations and Governments: Giving Wisdom Without Finding Fault”; “Civilizations and Governments: Using the Word To Build a New Earth”, “Civilizations and Governments: A Good Trainer”, “Civilizations and Governments: A Good Wife”, “Civilizations and Government: A Good Toy”, “Civilizations and Governments: How Do We Build a Good Civilization”, and “Civilizations and Governments: Overcoming Fear and Discouragement”.