Aging. Regardless of our conscious and unconscious choices this is an unavoidable process. We must accept this, as unfortunate as it is. However, I have come to realise that when I think about aging, it often leads me to think about life and purpose and how people including myself perceive the world. From interacting with different people, I have come to wonder at and expect the following concept: as we age, we unconsciously accept our opinions as fact and almost instantaneously reject anything that disagrees with us.
Why? I don’t know, but we just do. Perhaps it’s because the lives each of us live have confirmed our bias and therefore leads us to expect a certain outcome to any given situation.
At university, my classmates and I are constantly reminded to avoid tunnel vision. For example, we can be so focused on one area and completely miss vital details of the broader picture. This has been a game changing perspective for me. I thought I was fine, cruising along in life, equally balanced and accepting of others until boom!
As I have become more aware of the world, I now see my bias a little more clearly. Do I see myself as I truly am? No, because I need that external perspective only God can give (1 Corinthians 13:12). But is the picture I am seeing scary to realise? Certainly, and to think that’s not the whole picture. Considering this, I feel strongly that we all need to be aware of our biases. Not to discredit them. But, rather acknowledge them and move on to addressing them.
For example, when we search the Bible do we search it for answers to our own preconceived ideas and therefore rejecting the thoughts of others without first questioning what their reasoning is? Or, on the flip side, are we searching the Bible aware of the bias that we all have, and then reading the text. Not hearing what we want but seeking to hear the word of God above all else. When I do this, it has led me to experience a soul refreshing and thirst-quenching perspective. Contrasting this new perspective against the vain fillers of worldly wonders.
Now that’s a consideration, aware of our bias but acting contrary to understand other viewpoints. It’s a laborious process to take off the rose-tinted glasses for a deeper look at the finer, often messier details of not only life, but what the Bible depicts.
These gritty details may leave us wondering why God even included some stories. But God is not trying to turn us away from the Bible but rather help us gain a well-balanced understanding of this; as we go through life’s troubles, Christ reveals himself to us. Doing this by depicting the path He first walked before us and how He is currently with us. After all, if He can guide us through the valley of the shadow of death, does that then mean that He first walked through the valley of death so to speak? (Psalms 23:4).
So, when we feel surrounded by woe, hopeless, and dying from the killer that sin is, we can remember that God’s Word is not just a book, but rather a living Guide. It contradicts our bias and helps us as we age. God casts our thoughts back to those who have fought with God (Jacob wrestling with God in Genesis 32:24-32), reasoned with God (Abraham in Genesis 18:23-33 and Moses in Exodus 32:9-14), and despaired to God (Elijah’s depression and suicide wish in 1 King 19:4), but all turned to God to gain the strength to fight against all odds and defying expectations and limitations (Hebrews 11:34).
Afterall, if God has given us the question that never ages to address our bias what will we answer? God, our ageless hope, invites us to follow the Lamb (Jesus) slain for the strengthening and saving of us all, regardless of our aging bias.
Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord, though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Isaiah 1:18