January 13, 2012

Useless Statement #1: "I Would Never Do That!"

Many wisdom teachers of many ages have taught their students this: "you cannot impose your personal standards of behavior on others."

Jesus encouraged His disciples to "be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." You can read many variations of this statement from Matthew 10:16 here.

As I interact with others who may or may not share my world view -- and that is their right, by the way --,  I must keep Jesus' directive in mind. When I keep His directive in mind, I never react foolishly or thoughtlessly because someone does something I would never do.

Besides, it's a challenge to say what I would "never do." How can I know this? Also,  no other person is under any obligation to do things my way. Only I am responsible to my own values. It is also my responsibility to be aware that others act from their knowledge, their priorities, and their perspectives.

I can be a person of honesty and integrity in the middle of all of this. I can remain "innocent" to evil by following God and allowing Him to create my consequences for me. I must remain shrewd and knowledgeable in understanding others who don't want or won't follow God's ways.That shrewdness is an adult responsibility. It's a spiritual principle. There's no virtue in pretending not to see evil or overlooking the misuse of people and things.

I was once told: "If someone is constantly surprising you by their words and actions, that means you really don't know that person." I accept this as true.

So, in 2012, I resolve to be innocent and shrewd. It's an interesting combination that allows me to be honest, act with integrity, and minimize those nasty, unwanted, and unpleasant surprises.

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