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16 May 2010

string trimmer or loud music?

My yard work yesterday began with string-trimming the grass as my lovely wife mowed. (As an aside, I should note that cheap line in the string trimmer breaks far more easily than the slightly more expensive stuff it's loaded with now.)

I'd trimmed the grass along one side of the house when I realized that the somewhat loud, sustained whirring of the string trimmer probably wasn't going to be beneficial to my hearing. I decided that if my hearing's going to be damaged, I'd rather it be from loud music than a non-entertaining motorized implement droning relentlessly at, I dunno, 800Hz (a wild guess) or so.

So I went inside and grabbed my handy spongy earplugs. They did the trick, saving my hearing so that I could tell you all about it right now. If my hearing is going to be degraded, it isn't worth it to let it be done by a Weedeater (TM).

I remember the first time I told a younger person, "Choose your battles wisely [Grasshopper]." Boy, did I ever feel like I was full of wisdom. I could actually say from experience that some things are worth expending one's time and energy to address. Some things simply aren't. But I've come to realize that I probably wasn't as wise as I'd felt at that moment, because I haven't always done such a good job at choosing my battles when given the opportunity to do so.

I've noted that sometimes the battles I think are important wind up just being senseless arguments. I'll start out with the notion that "This is a very valuable principle that I must express at all costs," but after getting knee-deep in it, I realize that it was not nearly as important than I'd originally thought. At that point it's sometimes wise to step away from the issue rather than continuing to keep it going as a point of stress.

Two questions for you:
  1. How do you personally decide which theological "battles" have broad enough implications to undertake?
  2. Did you think that my illustration of the string trmmer even remotely tied in to the overall point of choosing one's battles?

7 comments:

Preston N said...

As one that always likes a good theological debate ;) over the years I have learned to pick my debates with greater wisdom and grace. I essentially place two main emphasis in undertaking a theological issue. Keep in mind ideas do have consequences.

First, does this theological issue impugn or hurt the character of God? For me upholding the character of God is vitally important - for both believers and non-believers. How a person views God is extremely important. If a particular doctrine distorts or shows God to be something that he is not, then for me it is worth debating. This is especially true if I know there are non-believers in the crowd or within earshot. Many so called Christian doctrines have equipped non-believers with enough excuses to hate God or to view God as being non-loving or tyrannical.

Second, is on the issue of sin. If a particular doctrine makes it easier for a person to sin, then clearly this is not a doctrine of God or of the Word. Again, ideas have consequences. Sin is the most offensive thing to God - and we should do all that we can to make sure people understand that and more importantly why that is so. One of Satan's greatest devices for deception is theology - many people have went to Hell thinking they were saved because they ended up beleiving in a perverted doctrine about sin. Like your example of the weedeater - these points are damaging to a person's soul and mind and therefore because God values human life, we too should make this a priority to stand up (and against) these types of doctrines.

Dean Lusk said...

Wow -- excellent criteria!

The problem might be, though (for people like me), that I could probably group every debate into one of these two categories. I've learned that temperance and wisdom have to enter the foray with me, too, or else I'll wind up taking the discussion into the far reaches of now-what-were-we-talking-about? territory.

Dean Lusk said...

By the way, I had no idea that you liked a good theological debate, Preston.

:-)

Iron sharpens iron, brother.

Preston N said...

Let me add that often I need to temper my zeal with wisdom and since wisdom (spiritual that is) comes from God, we should always seek God's guidance and direction on whether to debate someone about a particular issue. The longer I walk with the Lord, the more I have become attuned to his voice and direction. Often God will tell me not to engage someone simply because he knows they will refuse to beleive regardless of what I present and in many cases will only enrage them further (ie. Pearls before swine or they will tear you to peices). So just as in aerial dogfighting - break off the fight and return to base and live to fly another day.

Pray before we speak and under any circumstance never speak just to prove your right - that is prideful. Sadly I have been guilty of this on more than one occasion.

Christy said...

Proverbs 16:22-24 (NIV)
"Understanding is a fountain of life to those who have it, but folly brings punishment to fools. A wise man's heart guides his mouth,and his lips promote instruction. Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones."

Proverbs 17:27-28 (NIV)
"A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered. Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent,and discerning if he holds his tongue."

John King said...

Hi Preston, my name is John. You posts I not only Agree with. I have fallen short myself. Your posts read look for wisdom before shouting out just to be right. I also have learned over the past few years to listen to my heart as you demonstated in your post. wisdom does come from God. an Christys post hits it right on the nose. Thanks, this helped me alot.

Dean Lusk said...

Ditto to John's comment (noting that we shoud listen to our heart only if we're desperately seeking Christ and He's in charge of it), and Christy, Abraham Lincoln plagiarized Proverbs 17:28. :-)

Thanks for the excellent comments, you guys. Haven't been able to be online enough lately to be able to post a prompt response.

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