Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Mathematics of Being Right

I love having discussions. I've always felt like I have wisdom to impart on anyone who would have the ears to hear me, and I love hearing how other opinions align with my own. When I come to conclusions about things, it's usually because I've thought things through carefully, leading me to the right answer.

I started thinking this morning, that life, and even individual cirumstances, can be compared to a math equation. (I know. Math has never been my strong suit. One could therefore argue that life isn't my strong suit either, but let's save that discussion for another day.) We (and by "we" I mean "I") tend to go through life comparing our answers to others' answers, after all, that's how a teacher knows whether or not a student understands a concept--by looking at the answer. If the answers aren't the same, then a mistake has been made somewhere along the way. The teacher then pinpoints the mistake and the correct conclusion can finally be formed. I've always had an inclination to play the role of teacher, and have thought of it as my place to inform or correct someone where possible, so they can have all the information they need to make the "correct" decision. (Though I think I've always maintained that people have a right to their opinion--even if their opinion is wrong. I would just view this as someone being mis-or under-informed. Hence, in need of my correction.)

While there is some validity to this analogy, I now realize that I was fundamentally off base. You see, not everyone is given the same equation in life. Suzy may have a square root thrown into her equation which will completely alter not only the way she works her equation, but also her results. She may get an answer that is completely opposite to mine. Dan may not only have a square root, but also some exponential inserted into his equation, making his answer different from either Suzy's or mine. Does that make anyone's answers wrong? Nope. It makes them all exactly right, according to their equations (and provided they worked the equation right, which is another discussion altogether).

It's so easy to make judgments on others' conclusions according to our own equation. In fact, this is almost always the case. You can see how this could be and IS a problem, especially for one like me who has a bad case of correctionitis.

Judgement comes as a natural result of needing to make decisions. Without being able to judge, we would have no ability to chose and therefore have no agency. Judgement is a good and necessary tool in this life, but as with everything else, Satan tries to use even good and necessary tools to his benefit. We are commanded to "Judge not, lest ye be judged." We are warned to refrain from making judgments about others, especially when we aren't privvy to all the details involved in someone else's life. At the same time we're commanded to "Judge ye therefore righteously." Some judgments must be made. The only way to judge righteously is to ask the Lord, and to rely on the Spirit to guide us in our attempts to come to correct conclusions. We are faced continually with decisions that require our good judgment. Only Christ knows what even the smallest of factors may be in each of our lives, guiding each of our decisions, so is it any wonder that "He inviteth all to come unto him"? How else can we possibly judge righteously?

SO, this judger has some work to do. Again. I'm still totally opinionated--don't see that changing much. But I hope that I can slow my judgment reactions by remembering that everyone's equation is different.

So, please, don't judge this judger.


Fiddlefish said...

Man, Jonesy. You must have a Ph.D. Very impressive post. I may just print this one out to keep on file.

julie said...

What the crap are you doing up at 4:40 AM?

Jonesy said...

It was actually 5:40 am--the time is an hour off and I have yet to figure out how to change it. As to why I'm up? Dixon doesn't know he's supposed to sleep in on the weekends. I'm sure that will be remedied by the time he's a teenager, but until then, sleep deprivation is my life.

Jonesy said...

Ha! Fixed it!