I have an article in my list of articles on this website entitled Six Blind men from Isdostan. I am not the author but I felt that it was so good that I wanted to share it. It is about the experience of six blind men who “saw” an elephant for the first time. Each one had a piece of information that was true but incomplete. We call that a perspective. We are correct insofar as our view takes us but it does not take into account the whole.
There are times in my own experience I have found myself standing in a position much like the six blind men, defending my perspective, but not understanding the whole view. This is why it is important to step back sometimes to gain a fuller perspective which will aid in our understanding. It is important to remember that perspective is accurate but it is limited and can be a distortion of the truth. For example, we have all seen shadows that appear as objects other than someone’s hands. They are a distortion of the truth.
Another example is 4 people at a table looking at a cup in the center of the table. The first sees the cup with a handle on the right; the second sees a cup with the handle in the middle; the third sees a cup with the handle on the left and the fourth sees a cup but no handle. They are all right but their perspective limits their view and their report is quite different than the others.
When we are listening to another, we should remember to take into account their perspective. It can prevent an argument and a host of other problems. When we are studying the Bible it is important to consider the truth in light of the context. Also, it can be helpful the compare scripture with scripture which is the best commentary on the scripture. The cross references will help you do this. Good study methods are essential in studying the Bible.
Listening for the voice of God is also a great practice. I must make a couple points of caution here. First, an idea that just popped into your head is not necessarily the voice of God. There are other spiritual voices such as Satan and his cohorts. Every idea must be compared with scripture for God will never contradict Himself. You become proficient in knowing the voice as you grow in your relationship with the Lord. He said, My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: (John 10:27)
It is important to remember that hearing the voice of God is a growing experience. The more you know Him the more you will trust Him. Jesus invitation in Mt 11:29 (Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.) is to make it easy and possible for us to get to know Him. He will give all things the right perspective.