1 Corinthians 4:4 (Poor Judgment)

Read: Ezra 7:1-8:20, 1 Corinthians 4:1-21, Psalm 30:1-12, Proverbs 20:28-30

My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide. (1 Corinthians 4:4)

dumb idea

Relate: Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement. – Jim Horning Just a couple days ago I had the misfortune of watching a series supposedly professional comedians in NYC. One was great, one good, one was OK and two were just terrible. One of those terrible acts had the potential to be good except the guy really botched it right out of the gate.

Sometimes a comedian will first try to interact with the crowd to try to get a feel for their audience and what they respond to. This comedian pointed out a woman just to my right and asked her what she did. This large, assertive woman folded her arms and said, “I tend to my own business.” Apparently the poor guy on the stage didn’t know how to take a hint because he responds, “No seriously, what do you do for a living.” She ignores him, more than once but he keeps trying to reword the question and ask again. Finally, she squares her shoulders, glares at the little guy half her size and says, “I told you, my job is to mind my own business. Your job is to be a comedian. So go ahead, tell a joke. Make me laugh.” There is an awkward silence for about thirty seconds as it finally sinks in to the poor guy that he chose the wrong audience member to interact with.

Then he goes and compounds his mistake by trying to mock her to everybody else. He turns to the other side of the audience and says, “Can you believe how rude this woman is?” He then begins to pull out some of his “angry black woman” jokes. Nobody is laughing. It doesn’t help that he is so angry that he is almost visibly shaken. Clearly this guy felt justified in thinking he was the victim in the exchange. Clearly nobody else agreed.

React: That’s the way it is with me sometimes too. No matter how wrong I might be, it seems that my mind is always, like an expert lawyer, building my defense. Often it justifies what I have done, maintaining my innocence through some convoluted twisting of logic that doesn’t seem so convoluted to me. If complete innocence is impossible then it will work on either sharing or minimizing the guilt. (Often both). There is no end to the hoops my ego will jump through to try and keep my conscience clear.

That wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the fact I am constantly seeing how other people do the same thing. I want to just say to them, “You’re wrong. Just admit it.” Except I know the response will always be, “No I’m not because…” or “I know, but…”

Can you imagine Adolf Hitler at the Pearly Gates. St Peter asks, “Do you think you are innocent?” He answers, “Of course I am. Everything that went wrong… its the Jew’s fault.” St Peter responds, “Oh, OK. Come on in.” Thank God their own conscience isn’t the final arbiter of their ultimate innocence. But then I look in the mirror… dear God, my own conscience isn’t the final arbiter of my innocence either.

Respond: 

God, I have some really dumb ideas sometimes. What is even worse, I have some great rationalizations for why those ideas weren’t really so dumb. My mind is never harder at work than when it is trying to prove my innocence. I’m not innocent. I know this, but help me to truly recognize it. Help me to man up and say, “I am wrong. I’m sorry.” When it is necessary. Help me to be humble and teachable around others. Forgive my arrogance and help me to ever rely on Your wisdom and Your judgment.

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16 thoughts on “1 Corinthians 4:4 (Poor Judgment)

  1. Pingback: Day 41. Arrogance. | OTP – Reblogged! ( or, he's avin another rant…! )

  2. OUCH! I know that there are times in my life where I do this and I know that there are many times in my life when it has been done to me as well. I know that I am not sinless but I thank God I sin less. I am also glad that God knows the heart and can tell the difference between when I am sinning because I want to be right and when I am truly confused. Thank you for such an awesome blog post!

  3. What is it about us that makes us want to be right all the time? I have been able to get rid of most of that in my own life, but what a process. No body wants to be around that kind of a person.Thanks again, tweeted and reblogged!

  4. Hi BJ,

    First, I must admire you for the worthwhile conversation you are having with the world. Second, I seem to have this feeling that you write more with your heart than your pen – which is how it must be. (Or maybe I should say your heart is your pen too.) While the heart is the pen for seekers, the pen is the heart for intellectuals. You have a right mix of both.

    Thank God their own conscience isn’t the final arbiter of their ultimate innocence.

    I would like to say that conscience is an innate sentinel of Truth. If one is open to it and has time enough to listen to its voice, it gives you unfailingly a good feeling for a good deed and a bad feeling for a bad deed. If conscience does not do this, then it is not conscience at all; it must be something else. So it is impossible for conscience to be an arbiter of someone’s innocence.

    Keep up the good work. Actually, keep up the blessed good work.

    Rex.

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