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Pointers along the way #320

Learning with balance
- Jacob Ninan

Think of a high school debating competition where one team has to prove that abortion is good for society and the other team that abortion is bad for the society. These youngsters want the prize, and sometimes they have to put aside their conscience and their better sense and insist that their wrong ideas are right! Lawyers are trained to push aside all ideas of what they can easily perceive to be right and wrong, and argue for their client. Some scientists will go to any length to push or hold on to their theories even when evidence comes up to the contrary. What do we do when we argue with someone?

We know we don't know everything. This implies that we are wrong partially or fully in many of our current ideas. It will invariably happen as we discuss with others that some of our wrong ideas will get exposed. We can then continue to defend our views with what we know in our heart as being really incorrect, or we can accept the correction and go forward. If we keep defending ourselves we make it more difficult for our ego to climb down at the end. But if we allow ourselves to take small corrections during the discussions instead of stonewalling our discussion we will get a chance to go deeper into the subject.

What is important for us, our integrity or our ego? Job was being tormented by his so-called comforters who emphasised their point that God was apparently punishing Job for his sins and that he was not admitting his sins. Job's integrity did not allow him to 'agree' with them even though he could have at least avoided their accusations (Job.27:4,5). At the same time he did not keep rebutting them at each point they raised as if they were in a contest. He accepted them when they spoke truths about God (Job.9:2). He was certainly trying to argue his own case. But he was also willing to listen to them and learn.

Some of us don't question others, especially those whom we recognise as being more knowledgeable or experienced than we. We seem to assume that just because they are greater than we, they are right. No, even the greatest of men make mistakes. None of them knows everything right. If we don't question things for ourselves we cannot get to know things in the right way.

Some of us don't know when to quit arguing and give in. We don't stop when we see that we are going wrong and the others know better. We blunder along till the others get fed up with us and quit, thus blocking the way we could have learned something more.

God has created us as social beings who are dependent on one another, in order to provide a way for all of us to learn and move forward, and also to give us a balance. Men and women complement and balance each other. Different personality types give different perspectives on life that can together provide a more complete picture than what any of us can put together. Shall we not learn to listen more to the others, and judge everything according to God's word, so that we can become mature?


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