People often claim to be “thinking outside the box” to support views they hold that are different from the views of others. Sometimes those who do not believe in God, for instance, see themselves as “thinking outside the box” of those who do, and in so doing conclude that they are right and others are wrong.
Is that really “thinking outside the box” or is it simply judging someone with experiences you’ve never experienced and thoughts you’ve never thought? Does “thinking outside the box” mean thinking outside of someone else’s “box” or does it mean getting outside of your own “box,” seeing the world from a vantage point you’ve never seen before? Which is really “thinking outside the box?”
What would it be like to see life from the view of someone far older than you, of a different race, from a different culture, from a different time, of a different gender, or with experiences that brought them to faith in God? Wouldn’t you see the world differently than you do now, but still have just as much confidence as you do in the views you now hold? Might this not create something new within you and allow you to experience life in a new way?
In my own life, I’ve found that “thinking outside the box” only has real meaning when I’ve gotten outside my own box, having my core beliefs challenged to the point at which I had to change them, discarding some in order to be able to integrate new experiences and knowledge. I found that coming to faith in God was not something that happened by “thinking outside the box,” but by having experiences that challenged the belief system of the box I was in. Only by experiencing life from outside the box we’re now in do we gain new insights and wisdom. Without that, our thinking often amounts to little more than judging others, and with little basis of understanding. How would you view life if you could see it from outside your own box? How would life look if you could see it from God’s view; from the eternal instead of the temporal, from the infinite instead of the finite, and from the spiritual instead of the physical?
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
“I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.'”
Words of Jesus Christ in John 3:5-7
“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
2 Corinthians 5:16-17
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Words of Jesus Christ in Matthew 7:1-5
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.”
“Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise.”
1 Corinthians 3:18