I have another guest post this week over at Christians in Context.
Here's an excerpt:
I have never been a big “find your life verse” guy. But I think I can make a case for Proverbs 18:17 having become a life verse for me. Over the years, the events of life and ministry have inadvertently thrust Proverbs 18:17 into this position. In numerous situations I have found so many practical applications to the wisdom contained within it. It simply states: “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him” (ESV)...
This proverb says more than just “there are two sides.” It says that searching judgment of another can overturn what seemed easily and discernibly right when you first heard the case. Consider the analogy from our own legal system: the adversarial system is an important part of the process of discerning justice. If juries heard only the prosecutor present his case determining verdicts would be easy.
As another example of this, I have been the chairman of a non-profit board and at times we are faced with tough decisions. At times we find ourselves in a situation that requires decisive action upon which someone makes a case for a specific response. The case seems right and clear. However, as chairman in particularly difficult instances I have stated things like, “I am here to guard the integrity of the process.” Discussions must be fair and full. At times that entails being sure that no one voice dominates the conversation. Consensus and decisions in the board need, at times, to have a bit of an adversarial process to them. Matters must be weighed and even debated. We need people who will examine the case that another proposes so that we are not deluded into thinking a certain course is right just because it was the first suggested. Sometimes our opinions are changed; other times they are not but we become more prepared for objections as we proceed.
Let me ask you this: how do you respond to someone examining your best case? Often times we misconstrue a necessary and helpful adversarial process for an adversarial or enemy relationship. “If he disagrees with me, he must be an enemy.” To this end pastors and leaders can stack their boards with the aptly named “yes man.”
Read the whole thing.