Cutting People Some Slack

The other day I ran into some road work on my way home. This construction is not far from my house and I hit it nearly every day.  I tend to get into the correct lane early and slowly roll through the construction. Everyday many cars speed by on the left trying to get all the way up to the front of the slow line before attempting to merge. I’m almost never one of those people. I would rather get into the correct lane early, where the sign says “merge now”, rather than hoping someone will let me in later. One way is easy, the other can turn into a confrontational mess.

The other day, a pest control truck sped past everyone and forced its way into the traffic right before the lane closure. This got under my skin a little too much. I thought to myself, “What a ME FIRST jerk”! I remember thinking that someone should take a picture of his automotive billboard, you know, the truck with his name, number and business name all over the side, and paste it all over social media calling him out on his bad manners behind the wheel.

One to take on image card

Here’s where the problem came in. Earlier that same day, I had to go home for lunch in a hurry because of something urgent I needed to take care of. I was in a hurry and I’m sure there might have been people who thought my driving was fast and lacked courtesy. It probably was, I was in a legitimate hurry. We all have times when we are in a legitimate hurry. The pest control guy could have been racing home because of a distress call from his wife. I don’t know. So why did I automatically jump to negative thinking?

Unfortunately, we all often forget those times when we are judging others behind the wheel. Now I will concede that there are probably times when people are just being rude and selfish, but we won’t necessarily know, one way or the other. So why do we assume the worst? I catch myself doing this a lot and I hate it. Why is it that my first thought is that people are being mean spirited? Why do I seem to assume that people are being malicious first, and then have to re-think and make a conscious and deliberate decision to think more positively about them?

We have a tendency to judge others by the outcome but judge ourselves by our intentions. I have learned that when I’m tempted to judge a situation, the closer I get to it, the more I understand why it was done the way it was done. I need to keep this in mind to help me when I’m tempted to form a fast, uninformed opinion.

Jesus said in Luke 6:27 & 28 “But I tell you who hear: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you”. (WEB). This is not a suggestion from the Master, this should be our default setting, so how do we get this to be where we start? Instead of taking things the wrong way, thinking negatively about them and then catching ourselves, how do we begin on the right foot so to speak?

I think what I really need is a habit. I want my first thought to be positive. Some may say that it’s not even possible but I think we can be far better than we are. I know I have room to grow.

Hebrews says – For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Heb 5:13-14).

We can get to the point where our very senses can be developed to discern whats right and wrong. How to we get to that point? The Bible says in Romans 12:2 that we are not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, that we may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.

So the first step to making this change is to renew our minds with the scripture. This means getting plenty of exposure to it. It’s going to take more than a quick verse in the morning. Real change requires real commitment.

One thing you can do is print out 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and personalize it.  Tape this to your bathroom mirror and read it out loud every time you look into the mirror.  You can get a copy of it here.

I want to do better. Do you want to join me? This can be our One To Take On this week. Join the conversation by leaving a comment. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Just click the icons in the upper right corner.

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I sure do appreciate you.


Decisions & deceptions. How we make choices.

The fact that there are so many people who report to have and enjoy a real, sincere relationship with God should at least be reason to have an open mind. For His existence to be so lightly considered and so easily dismissed seems to be unusually closed minded. I have heard people who profess no believe in God, compare the early church gospel writers to “near Cro-magnon men”. This argument is meant to belittle Christians and try to strike at the credibility of the writers of the Bible. The problem is that this statement actually reveals a very strong bias and prejudice, and isn’t scientific at all.

Man on mountain at dawn

When science and Christianity don’t seem to fit together, it doesn’t mean one is true and the other is not, it just means there’s more there to know and there’s a hole in our understanding. What these gaps in our collective understanding mean to me is simple. It just means we don’t know yet.

Most people would agree that there is a spiritual realm and that people have a connection to it. The problem materialistic thinkers have with spiritual things is that they can’t readily be measured. When we find that something can be perceived but we can’t figure out how to measure or quantify it, denying it exists is a huge leap. What we begin to see is something Chip & Dan Heath discuss in their book Decisive call Confirmation Bias.

Confirmation Bias is the way we deceive ourselves. Confirmation Bias is when we form a quick belief about something and then seek information and evidence to bolster what we already believe. I may make a poor choice and then afterwards try to build a case for why it was the right choice. I’m trying to justify my position. This is Confirmation Bias.

I may choose one of my team members to help me with a special project. I choose this person because I like them and we just click. They may be poorly suited to do what I need them to do but I didn’t choose them on that basis. Even if I made a Pro’s & Con’s list, it would be slanted by the bias I have already built in.

A CEO has an idea that will change the direction of the company, he believes it is the right move and he needs to convince the board that it’s the right move so he starts compiling data, but his data comes back nearly evenly split for and against the change in direction. What data will be used when talking to the board? The data that supports the idea. The data against the move may be minimized or even ignored totally. It may all appear very scientific but in reality, the bias was added early in the recipe.

Dan Lovallo says “People go out & collect data and they don’t realize they’re cooking the books”. We think we want truth but what we really want is reassurance. Do these jeans make me look fat? A lot of our questions don’t crave an honest answer.

What do you think? Have you noticed yourself falling for confirmation bias? Join the conversation & leave a comment.

Are you being authentic or just stupid?

One podcast I enjoy listening to is called Steal The Show with Michael Port. Most of the time, the format of the podcast is that Michael interviewing people that he believes will add value to his listener. Sometimes its just him speaking directly to the listener. In the last few episodes, Michael has touched on what it means to be authentic and quite honestly, he’s got me thinking.

The Bible says in Pro 18:2 A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.

Barnes commentary on Prov 18:2 says this:  Another form of egotism. In “understanding,” i. e., self-knowledge, the “fool” finds no pleasure; but self-assertion, talking about himself and his own opinions, is his highest joy.


During Michael’s interview with Tucker Max, they discussed in depth about having different rolls for different situations. Tucker speaking quite candidly, said “I’ve always resisted the idea that we should have different rolls for different situations, but it’s kind of an immature, young person thing to do to say ‘No – I have one identity. I’m one person. I’m going to be the same everywhere. That’s the only way to be honest’. That’s that sort of idealistic, nonsense, young person stuff. Finally, I have come around to realize that having different social masks, identities, or rolls is not being fake.”

Michael responds with “To be called a chameleon is generally considered an insult, but a chameleon is adaptive. They are green when they are on a green leaf, they are red when on a red leaf, but they are never faking it. It’s actually part of who they are, and people have those abilities too.”

Michael later interviewed Mark Bowden. Mark is an expert at body language. He comes from an acting & performance background. Mark points out that at any given time, you feel multiple ways about what’s going on. It’s up to you to decide the most appropriate manner to display yourself. In this you are still being authentic, but you are also being wise.

Here’s a simple, personal example of what Mark talked about:

  • This is hard. It’s hard to write things week after week with very little engagement from readers. I don’t know if anyone is listening. I don’t know if it’s going anywhere. I don’t know if I’m really helping anyone. It’s hard to keep moving forward. I could be doing something more fun right now. I’m not sure it’s worth it.
  • This is awesome. I absolutely love doing this blog. I love making a difference in the lives of people. I am so grateful that God has given me this incredible opportunity. I’m making a difference in the lives of people. Even if it’s not today, maybe someone will read my stuff in the future and it will change their life. This is awesome. I have so much to say! I love helping people!

Right now, both of these thoughts exist in me. I have to decide which is appropriate for the situation and yield to that one. I am not betraying myself by shutting down thoughts that I have that don’t help me or move me forward.

It seems to me the idea that, in order to be authentic, we should only have one version of ourselves and force-fit that one version into all situations is a bit stupid.

To a certain extent, I expect to see this in younger people. They are still learning what is important. It breaks my heart to see it in people who are old enough to know better though. They are really hindering themselves. Here’s why.

When you hold to the idea that in order to be true to yourself and to be truly authentic, you must be the one version of YOU in all situation, you are requiring the people and the environment to meet you on your terms. You are requiring them to wrap around you – to serve you, your will, your way. We might call people like this High Maintenance. What they really are is selfish.

On the other hand, when you go into every situation with the idea that “I will be what the situation requires”, you are not being less authentic, you are being the version of you that cares about the people you’re with. You’re being more thoughtful, more compassionate, more helpful. You are people and situation focused instead of me focused. You are still being you, you are just being the better, more giving and caring version of who you really are.

So what do you think? Do you have a story about what it means to authentic? Please join the conversation in the comments.

Also, If this has helped you, please share.

Love you guys.