I have taken it upon myself lately to reexamine my approach to brethren who are wandering, indifferent or erring. It’s all fine and good to say we should have “the spirit of gentleness” (Galatians 6:1). But what does that actually look and sound like? How might I self-diagnose more effectively?
I could eat blueberries by the handful. In fact, that is my preferred method. Sure, I could get Tracie to make a pie, or I could mix up a tasty batch of blue lemonade. But why? I enjoy them just as much by themselves, and it’s far less work for everyone involved. And less waiting for me.
From a distance, my lawn looks great. Up close, my lawn looks terrible. Both perspectives are unfair, I think. It is self-serving and lazy to imagine that a quick glance from the street is how best to measure the quality of my work. It is self-defeating and depressing to hover over each blade of grass (or weed, or dead spot) and wonder what I did so horribly wrong as to bring on this tragedy.
Perspective makes all the difference. You’re either a hero or a goat, a genius or an idiot. Both perspectives are true, and both are lies.
In the late spring of 1994, as I rooted on the Houston Rockets on the way of the first of two “Thank you, Michael Jordan, for trying to play baseball” world championships, most of the world was watching another sport. The World Cup had come to America. (That’s a big soccer tournament, in case you were unaware.) And the American home crowd got a thrill when the Yanks pulled off an upset victory over traditional power Colombia. The 2-1 win was helped along when Colombian defender Andres Escobar scored an “own goal,” giving a point to the Americans and effectively eliminating Colombia from the tournament.
In related news, Andres Escobar was shot and killed in his hometown of Medallin a few days later.
Without trying to take sides in the gun vs. anti-gun argument, allow me to cautiously make the following observations: one, a gun tragedy is guaranteed to bring people out of the woodwork, quoting outrageously misleading statistics and claiming that all gun advocates are essentially guilty of murder; two, gun advocates will try to “put things into perspective” by saying the problem isn’t actually as gigantic as it is made out to be, and essentially come off like jerks who think a dozen or so dead children is not that big a deal. In short, everyone still believes what they already believed, they’re just louder about it.
I find facts a lot less argumentative than rhetoric, so let’s look at some facts.