By definition, a principle is a basic assumption or rule held to be true. Dr. Custer Reynolds, my mentor from Squabble Creek, Kentucky, shared with me a principle he called the “Pancake Principle”. The principle was related to me as I was sharing with him about a “discussion” I was having with a colleague at Asbury College. Dr. Reynolds was always supportive, so I assumed he would provide a sympathetic response to my position. Instead, he shared with me the following principle: No matter how thin you fry a pancake, it still has two sides.
This bit of mountain wisdom has stayed with me across the years. In every argument (discussion) there are always two sides. Often are we convinced that our opinion is the only rational possibility. We don’t want to take time to consider the other side. This approach seldom leads to a peaceful resolution. The scriptures have something to say about dealing with others when we are on opposite sides of an issue. Proverbs 17:14: “Starting a quarrel is like a leak in a dam, so stop it before a fight breaks out.” Words said in the heat of an argument cannot be taken back. If we are true believers, we must respond in kindness, preferring others above ourselves. We must deal with integrity. Honesty and open-mindedness are essential.
Life would be better if we followed the ‘pancake principle’ when differences of opinion arise. We need to humbly consider the other side and what brought that person to that position. We often feel the compulsion to defend ourselves out of a self-centered motive. The most important thing to a person with sin in their heart is to get their own way – to be right. Christ-centered people should refrain from arguing. We don’t always have “to win”, especially if it’s at the expense of wounding someone. Jesus gave us a powerful model when He stood silent before His accusers. We need grace in conversations and relationships.
Lord, help us to understand that our opinion may be just that – our opinion. We need to know our opinions may not rise to the level of “Absolute Truth”.
~ Brother Roy