The Accidental Pharisee

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Doing the math

"All a man's ways seem right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the motives."
Proverbs 16:2 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

Just tell me what is right and what is wrong.
That seems simple enough, doesn't it?
Not if you're talking to Wise Guy.
And he has the math equation to prove it.

Now, you need to know I am the original carrier of math anxiety. So, if I can work through this equation to learn some truth, so can you.

Here we go:
2 plus 2 equals 12
2 plus 2 does not equal 12
2 plus 2 equals 4
x factor (2 plus 2) equals 12

Now for the explanation:
Think of 2 plus 2 as my behavior or a collection of actions I do or I perceive in others based on my past. So, in my world, 2 plus 2 can equal 12. While in your world, 2 plus 2 will never equal 12. It equals 4--based on your past experience.

What Wise Guy is teaching me is, rather than screaming, "That's wrong" when someone's 4 bumps up against my 12--I need to figure out why I get 12 and why they get 4. I need to look for the x factor--that hidden variable affecting their perception of life.

If you add an 8 to that equation you can get 12. Or multiply by 3. But, because it's an x factor, no one knows I'm adding or multiplying to come up with 12.

I don't know about you, but that's enough math for me.

Here's the point: I do things a certain way. I react to my husband or my friends or my family a certain way--and it seems right to me. When someone else reacts differently, I jump to the conclusion that they are wrong because they are not reacting the way I am.

All my ways seem right in my own eyes--but that means other people have to be wrong.
And that's judging.
You think about that.

And, Wise Guy, I am listening--and doing the math!

Just Thinking Out Loud: We Accidental Pharisees get stuck on the first part of Proverbs 16:2. Our ways seem right to us. We need to focus on the second part of the verse: God weighs the motives of our hearts. We need to be less about being right and wrong--usually us being right and someone else being wrong--and be listening to what God is saying about our hearts.

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  • Pretty good at adding things up for claiming to fear math!

    "Fascinating, isn't it" how discovering the right question makes all the difference.

    Ah, what vistas appear
    cresting a hill I never knew
    existed, yet it stood in my way, blocking my view.


    By Blogger WiseGuy, At April 30, 2008 at 10:11 AM  

  • Well said, my friend who (supposedly) does not write.

    By Blogger Beth K. Vogt, At April 30, 2008 at 7:00 PM  

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