"Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful." - Rom. 1:31
In a book by one of my favorite old writers, he uses the word “hidebound" to describe people so set in their ways that they have become mentally unmoveable. The word is used to describe animals, especially cattle, whose skin is so tight as a result of poor feeding that it is incapable of extension or expansion. Referring to a person’s mind, the Oxford English Dictionary describes someone who is hidebound as: “restricted in view or scope; narrow, cramped; bigoted; obstinately set in opinion.” Get the picture?
Paul calls such people “implacable” in Romans 1:31, meaning they cannot be placated, appeased, or reasoned with, no matter how much evidence is placed before them. Sorry to say, this is a characteristic that only worsens with age. This is one reason why waiting too late to marry can be just as hard on a marriage as marrying too soon. Implacability in the first case is just as bad (maybe worse) as immaturity in the latter.
I find that the principles, standards, and doctrines I am most sure of are the ones that have been open to the light of contradiction. Several years ago, a young missionary with whom my husband and I had close ties, decided it would be better for him not to receive any correspondence from us, because my husband had suggested that another method of Bible interpretation than the one he embraced should be considered as well. His fear, the young man said, was that he might be influenced adversely. My thought was: how secure then was he in those beliefs he was trumpeting so vehemently?
My strongly held beliefs in the existence of the Creator God, the Divinity of Jesus Christ, the infallibility and perpetuity of the Word of God, and the superiority of holy living are not the result of never having come in contact with atheists, modernists, Bible deniers, or social libertarians. On the contrary, their deficiency has only served to reinforce the veracity of those things I learned so long ago as a child in Sunday School.
Falsehoods are better faced and overcome by truth than shunned and left to percolate.
We say of those content with who and what they are that they're "comfortable in their own skin." This is a good thing -- as long that skin is flexible. But, for myself, when who or what I am or think becomes more important than who or what God wants me to be or think, than I've become just plain old...hidebound!